Google has put out a blog search engine. Despite the fact that people have been clamoring for this for months, it may surprise you to realize that this makes Google the first to market with a homegrown blog search of any major search engine.
Blog Search is Google search technology focused on blogs. Google is a strong believer in the self-publishing phenomenon represented by blogging, and we hope Blog Search will help our users to explore the blogging universe more effectively, and perhaps inspire many to join the revolution themselves. Whether you’re looking for Harry Potter reviews, political commentary, summer salad recipes or anything else, Blog Search enables you to find out what people are saying on any subject of your choice.
You can subscribe to search results, via a link at the bottom of the SERP page. In as sign that Google is lossening up on Atom, you can subscribe via RSS or Atom, with feeds with 10 or 100 results.
There are several ways to get to Blog Search, beyond just memorizing the google.com/blogsearch URL. You can go to:
- blogsearch.google.com (Google-style interface)
- search.blogger.com (Blogger-style interface)
- The Blogger Dashboard
- The Navbar on any Blog*Spot blog
Definitely a smart way of getting the blog search out there. The search.blogger.com URL is far easier for most people to remember, and the interface is more friendly and fitting when compared with Technorati. The Blogger version also gives you the advanced search option right there on the front page, via a “Use search options” link that reveals more options.
The advanced search operators are:
Google’s FAQ says it uses standard ping services and RSS to get posts, and that it has been crawling since June. They plan to add a form to add blogs not being indexed, and a method to add older posts as well. Blog Search does respect robots.txt.
Blog Search lists relevant blogs above the results when they are relevant enough above the search results (which only link to posts). This can be telling, as it rewards the older and more popular blogs (i.e. the ones with top PageRank), and not the more recently popular ones. Which is why you see the Google BlogSpace blog at the top (along with Blogoscoped and Google’s blog), but not this one.
Some searches turn up near-perfect blog results, like Netflix, while others are lacking, like Microsoft (which should at least have Scoble or Paul Thurrott in addition). I love that there are so many results for this query.
All in all, a good offering, although not as fun-loving as Technorati. On the other hand, it isn’t as buggy as Technorati, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it wins a lot of converts (if not all of them). We’ve been begging for a good blog search engine, and this might be it.
One problem I have with it: All the links are Google redirect links. Now, this is only going to make things more difficult for bloggers using the search engine, as we have to hack off the ends of URLs to post them. How about finding a way to do link tracking that doesn’t involve sticking
http://www.google.com/url?sa= at the beginning of everything?
So, the final word: There are quite a few blog search engines out there, none of them from Yahoo or MSN, and for the most part, they all have massive flaws that render them near-useless. Google blog search, while very green and less fun, “just works”, and that could mean stealing a lot of people away from the other services.
The only thing Technorati and the others have going for them right now are advanced features, like blog profiles, rankings, tagging and the like. Many people will stick with their inferior engines just for that reason, although most will likely switch. If Google does the smart thing and realizes that blog search isn’t about search, but about tracking conversations, and develops Google blog search accordingly, then there are a lot of small websites that just aren’t going to make it.
I’m already envisioning the perfect feature for Google Blog Search: a conversation tracker, one that arranges back-and-forth posts in a conversation view not unlike Gmail’s. Basically, that you could click on any post, anywhere, and follow the conversation from that backwards and forwards in a threaded view simply derived from the links traveling between blogs. If Google were to implement a feature like that, they win.
Where’s Yahoo and MSN? They’re probably almost ready to launch their engines (several bloggers already saw Yahoo’s). I’m sure their blog search will be pretty good, too, but they must be kicking themselves for getting beat to market by Google.
(via Steve Rubel)
UPDATE Google Blog post:
Posted on: Thu, Sep 8 2005 1:58 PM | Updated: Wed, Sep 14 2005 8:24 AM