Addicted to novelty since 2001

Google Blog Search Fortunate to be in Beta

Today Google launched their new BlogSearch service. Here’s the blurb:

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.

I’ve tried it out, and, frankly, it’s a bit crap. To pick a couple of search terms that regularly get people to this site, I searched for linen suit and Michelle Branch. Both of these terms finished in the top 5 on regular Google, but are nowhere to be found on Google’s Blog Search. Despite the site’s claims that results are sorted by relevance, they sure look to me like they’re sorted by date.

Let’s try a more practical example. A big fire is raging south of Vancouver. If I search for burns bog fire, I get pretty decent results. It seems to me, then, that Google Blog Search works best for time-sensitive stories. In the future, I could see Google just combining these searches under one app, and highlighting the up-to-the-minute results in a sidebar or something.

Apparently this search engine only searches RSS feeds, like Feedster. This approach has advantages–timely results–and disadvantages–missed content on blogs without RSS feed, or content that’s not included in RSS feeds (comments or full stories, for example).

Here’s a quick round-up of what other people think:

  • Dana – ” I did some searching this morning and found a few of my favorite Movable Type blogs that would normallly turn up in Technorati to be absent from the Google results.”
  • Boris – “This current release is decidedly uninteresting — the results aren’t that great. I do like the hinted-at capabilities of the advanced blog search page, but PubSub’s boolean operators are already as powerful or more so.”
  • Mark – “While Google Blog Search keeps Google’s clean, no-frills look, it does not have – at least not yet – the bells and whistles that make Technorati and Ice Rocket so interesting.”
  • Om – “This is a move that preempts Yahoo’s pending launch of RSS Search, which is supposed to come sometime before the end of the month.”

6 Responses to “Google Blog Search Fortunate to be in Beta”

  1. Marc

    I didn’t do a great deal of searching, but it appears to me that it favours Blogger blogs…

  2. Paolo

    I’ve tried it out, and, frankly, it’s a bit crap. To pick a couple of search terms that regularly get people to this site, I searched for linen suit and Michelle Branch.

    I see a couple of issues with this. Certainly you wouldn’t define your blog as being about “linen suits” or “Michelle Branch” but Vancouver blogger might do the trick, and sure enough you turn up under the 4th choice! But obviously, you’re more than just a Vancouver blogger and DarrenBarefoot.com isn’t necessarily a Vancouver focused blog. So, how do you categorize your blog? You seem like a mixture of opinion blog and points of interest.

    I blog about a lot of things and it makes defining “Immutably Me” a tad difficult, too. The easy answer is to say my blog is about “Paolo Pace”. If I Google Blog search under my name (without quotes), the first result is for a blog I guest posted on only recently. That’s bad. The other relevant results are for my recent video game blog, which is a blogger account. Also, bad. Immutablyme.com, which is my main blog that I’ve been writing on for a few years now didn’t even show up on the first pages, and if I searched for my name with quotes, my main blog never shows up at all.

    I can alternatively define my blog as a “blog of contradictions” or an “opinion blog”. Both definitions are actually written on Immutablyme.com and none show up in searches for “blog of contradictions”, “opinion blog”, et cetera.

    In short, I agree with you; Google Blog Search is crap. Maybe it will improve over time.

  3. Andy Baio

    They only started indexing feeds in June 2005, so entries dated before then very likely aren’t included. Your Michelle Branch post, for instance, was from 2003. If you search for more recent posts, it does much better. More info about this in their FAQ.

  4. Darren

    Andy: Indeed, I figured that. That doesn’t really make it any less crap, though. It’s not so much a Blog Search tool, as a Blog Search Since July, 2005 tool.

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