Google Search Engine to Scan Blogs

After years of promising, Google has come through with a blog search engine — google.com/blogsearch or search.blogger.com. As it usually does, Google is offering the new service in beta. (Google News has been in beta since its release in September 2002.)

The engine indexes only the content published through RSS feeds, not the full text of the blogs themselves.

“The best thing about it is that competition is a good thing,” Gary Price, research librarian and Internet search consultant, told TechNewsWorld. “It really isn’t a blog search engine, it’s an RSS search engine.”

Not a Pioneer

Google is not the first company to release a blog search engine, but it is the biggest. Technorati is one of the best-known of the blog search sites, but there are many other options. They include Daypop, Bloogz and Clusty, which is a metasearch engine for blogs that clusters results according to topic.

Now that Google has entered the fray, its large competitors are likely to follow. “I predict within months, weeks, days, we will see a blog or RSS search engine from Yahoo,” Price said. “What will be really interesting to watch is how smaller blog engines respond to this.”

Responding to Pings

The Google blog search works by sending web spiders out to index pages that ping its servers. A ping happens whenever a blog writer publishes or updates an RSS feed. Price pointed out that it’s important to remember that only the first few lines of text will be indexed.

The greatest point is that it’s immediate, he said, but it has limited research value because it’s a self-selecting group.

“You get an idea of what people are talking about. Everybody can have a blog. But it’s only the voice of the people who have a blog, and not very many people do,” he said.

A Pew Internet study in November 2004 found that 8 million American adults say they have created blogs, although creating and maintaining them are two different things.

Readership of blogs rose 58 percent in 2004 to reach 27 percent of Internet users, and it can be assumed that those numbers are higher now. But that same study also found that 62 percent of Internet users did not know what a blog was.

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