Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Google launches blog search

Chris Sherman reports that Google just launched a weblog search engine. It is available at blogsearch.google.com and search.blogger.com.

Here's a Google blog search for "findory". Here's a traceback search for all blogs linking to Geeking with Greg.

All the Google operators are supposed to be supported. Doing a traceback is as easy as doing a "link:" query. At some point, I assume you'll even be able to see related blogs using the "related:" operator, but this didn't appear to work in my tests.

The default sort order is by relevance, not by date. Most current blog search engines can only order by date. Relevance seems to be determined by some combination of PageRank and recency, so recent articles from popular blogs seem to bubble to the top. Quite useful, a nice touch. Google's personalized search doesn't appear to be available for blog search yet, but that's probably just a matter of time.

It's super fast. It has support for many languages. It provides feeds so you can subscribe to blog search results. Excellent. I think I just found my new favorite blog search engine.

There have been hints for months that both MSN and Yahoo are about to launch blog search, but their products remain vaporware. It is amusing to see Google quietly beat the others out the door.

This development was widely predicted, but, now that it has become a reality, it certainly doesn't bode well for blog search startups. It was just six weeks ago that Technorati CEO Dave Sifry said in a BusinessWeek interview:
Q. Why can't [Google, Yahoo, and MSN] build ... a blog search engine?

A: Well, good luck. We've been doing it now for almost three years, and it's a lot harder than you think. Doing it on a small scale is not terribly difficult. Doing it to scale becomes pretty hard, and every day the blogosphere is growing by leaps and bounds.
At the time I saw this, I thought Dave's statement was pure hubris. If anyone can handle the scale required for blog search, it'd be Google.

See also my previous post, "Will Technorati die?"

Update: See also reviews and comments by Charlene Li, Anil Dash, Danny Sullivan, Nathan Weinberg, Peter Caputa, and Gary Price.

Update: As Niall Kennedy and others pointed out, one negative of Google Blog Search is that the index only goes back to June 2005. At first, I didn't think this was such a big deal since blog search usually is used for prospective search (current news and information), not retrospective search. This is the idea behind PubSub after all.

But, now that Google replaced the blog search header at the top of this blog with Google Blog Search, I'm finding this June 2005 limit deeply irritating, because I can't use the search at the top of this blog to find my old posts anymore.

Instead, I have to manually do what the search box used to do, I have to do a Google Web Search. For example, notice how this Google Web Search for "site:glinden.blogspot.com perfect search" differs from the equivalent search on Google Blog Search because of the June 2005 limit. Ugh, what a pain.

Update: Stephen Baker at BusinessWeek reviews Google's blog search calling it "lackluster" and saying, "for now, it's just another blog search engine."

But, especially with the other search giants entering soon, I think the KO that Google may have failed to deliver will not be long in coming.

[Found on Findory]

1 comment:

Scott said...

I also have a review of Google's Blog Search. (Call me highly unoriginal.)

Here are some current issues with the service, IMHO... ones that will hopefully be fixed soon:

* No integration with Google Search History
* No “Blogs” tab atop the Google search results (akin to the Images, News, Groups headings)
* No way to submit my blog's RSS/Atom feed. According to Google Blog Search Help, “If your blog publishes a site feed in any format and automatically pings an updating service (such as Weblogs.com), we should be able to find and list it. Also, we will soon be providing a form that you can use to manually add your blog to our index, in case we haven't picked it up automatically. Stay tuned for more information on this.”
* No means of categorization. It would be nice to be able to drill into blogs by topic rather than just having to do a keyword search.
* Lack of meta-statistics on the blogosphere. A buzz index like IceRocket provides or other metadata that can be gleamed from Google's massive index would be most appreciated.

There's also a good (albeit biased) look at Google's service from Mark Cuban over here.