Google launches flawed blog search

Google’s long anticipated blog search was launched overnight (I guess that means they’re not buying Technorati then Tom!).

Google have made a faq about their blog search available where they say:

There are a few different ways you can get to Blog Search:

* (Google-style interface)
* (Blogger-style interface)
* The Blogger Dashboard
* The Navbar on any Blog*Spot blog

It’s the same search in each place, no matter how you get to it. The Navbar, however, provides two buttons: one to search the blog you are currently viewing, and one to search all blogs.

This is a big move for Google and one which is long overdue – however they still have some work to do on it – I did a search for blog author “Tom Raftery” (vain or what?) and the most recent post I found was one written on the 12th of August! was This one of the last posts I wrote before I went on holidays for two weeks but I have been back now for over two weeks and Google’s blog Search appears to be blissfully unaware of this! Many people would say this is a good thing!

It does point to an underlying flaw somewhere in their algorithms though.

Google also allows for subscribing to blog searches similar to Technorati and other blog search engines:

At the bottom of each page of search results you can find several links, offering the top 10 or 100 results as either Atom or RSS feeds. Just grab the links from here and subscribe to them in the news aggregator of your choice and you will get updates whenever new posts are made that match your query.

Hat tip to Memeorandum

21 thoughts on “Google launches flawed blog search”

  1. hea tom,

    maybe its not updated because they haven’t crawled the site since then?
    i have searched for runningwithbulls and they picked up my most recent posts.

    Haven’t looked thru my logs yet, but i might suspect to see googlebot…

    just a thought,

  2. Absolutely Bernard,

    that is the most probable explanation – but I have a Google sitemap on my site which was last downloaded 4 hours ago.

    Even with that aside – not crawling a blog in over a month shows there are some problems with the search – mine can’t be the only site with this issue so the question arises how much of the blogosphere are they actually indexing?

  3. Hi Tom,

    Clicked your test for blog author link and Blog Search came back with lots of recent posts including this one 1 hours ago, and others 13 and 22 hours ago and so forth. Perhaps something has been fixed?


  4. Wow Tama – that was fixed fast!

    I still wonder what caused it though, and how many other blogs are in a similar situation.

    It would seem that Google are reading blogs (otherwise how was mine indexed so quickly after the fact that I highlighted that it hadn’t been) maybe they would explain what happened here.

    Nah!, Now I’m really dreaming!

  5. Do we really need a seperate blog search from Google?
    Why not just integrate it into the regular search? After all the so called ‘blogosphere’ is not really distinct from the ‘interweb’ it’s just a way of publishing to it.

    I certainly hope this doesn’t mean there will be a move to remove blog results from regular search…

  6. I guess Frank,

    from a subscription point of view – Google is providing results from feeds and giving a feed for those results – it would be hard (not to mention confusing) to mix in non feed data with feed data in the results.

    Google have many precedents for this already – their Google Groups, their Google News, their Froogle – all search subsets of the Internet.

  7. True, but Groups/News/Shops are logically grouped items whereas it could be argued blogs are not. Why would one want to search blogs only?
    I mean this not as a rhetorical question, but as an actual discussion point.. ie I am genuinely curious about this.

    I wonder if this division of blogs from the general webosphere is a healthy thing, or whether it will only serve to prolong this notion of a ‘blogosphere’ which I disagree with, personally!

  8. I guess that your point that it’s a feed search and not a blog search is probably the real issue, but you see where I’m coming from…

    To me, whether a site/page has a feed or not is a seperate issue to be worked out by searches, not whether it’s a blog or not…

  9. Just searching blogs allows you to confine your search to up-to-the-minute opinion sites – as the blogs get indexed by the main Googlebot, you can then search in regular Google for a mix of all sites and blogs – so I guess the difference is you can see stuff published in the last hour in Blog Search whereas in regular search it is days old, at best.

  10. frankp: Many would be of the opinion that blogs are polluting the search space with irrelevant opinion as opposed to actual fact. Opinions have their place but are not very helpful for projects or research.

  11. Actually, I think the blogosphere can in many ways be a better way to gauge certainly things which can be very helpful for research! The social immediacy and immediacy of feedback from bloggers is about the most raw and direct feedback that politicians, companies and others can get. Sure, it’s a lot and sometimes not that eloquent, but that rawness can be extremely useful and, dare I say it, honest.

  12. Well, I know where both of you (hostyle, tama) are coming from, but research will always involve checking your sources credibility before citing them. No doubt though, Blogging software has made it easier than ever to get your material ‘published’ regardless of it’s quality. Just look at the crap I publish every week… 😉

    However I think Blogs help the general search space – for example, I find that they tend to be better formed than a lot of sites and more findable. As a result, I have often found what I was looking for because it was discussed and linked to in a blog, the site itself buried deep in Google.

    Blogs are helping to raise awareness about web standards and css, and findability issues in general, including the more often ignored issues around content and style.

    Perpetuating the notion of a ‘blogosphere’ by seperating Blog searches from general searches, to my mind, threatens to undermine the value of blogs rather than look at what they do right and apply it elsewhere.

    WRT Tom’s response, I’m not sure this is a valid reason to separate the search, but I would like to know more about why the blog search is so much more speedy before making any real argument.

    My gut though is that, linked to my response above, if Blogs/feeds can be indexed faster then that’s the game, and those who do not have sites that follow the rules of the game will be found slower. Aint it always been so dawg?

    Overall I just feel that Blogs are over-hyped. Don’t get me wrong – they are excellent and I use them for a variety of reasons, but the sooner they settle into the more general notion of the internet the better. The ‘blogosphere’, unfortunately does tend to include an awful lot of what hostyle calls ‘irrelevant opinion’. Just like in the early days everyone had to have a website. Nowadays those who have half a purpose for one, have a website. I imagine eventually only those with half a purpose to blog will have a blog. But as long as the hype keeps up and things like Blog Search help the self importance of ‘irrelevant opinions’ every Tom, Dick and Harry will sign up… 😉

    But now I’m just ranting.

  13. My gut though is that, linked to my response above, if Blogs/feeds can be indexed faster then that’s the game, and those who do not have sites that follow the rules of the game will be found slower. Aint it always been so dawg?

    Google answers Frank’s comment above with the following from their Blog Search FAQ:

    8. How does Blog Search work?

    Blog Search indexes blogs by their site feeds, which will be checked frequently for new content. This means that Blog Search results for a given blog will update with new content much faster than standard web searches. Also, because of the structured data within site feeds, it is possible to find precise posts and date ranges with much greater accuracy.

  14. If that is the case, I fail to see the point. Is that not what google Sitemap was for?

    Won’t non blogs / feed sites that update regularly lose out? Even if they use the Google Sitemap. If so it pretty much changes the whole SEO arena – if blogs aren’t going to be taken out of the main search space but updated / spidered faster. So much for content being king. Now rants and non-factual spewing is going to make it to the top of the search rankings?

    Course its early in the morning and I could be wrong 🙂

  15. Is that not what google Sitemap was for?

    Not necessarily Lee – not everyone who has a sitemap also has a feed.

    Also, the sitemaps are downloaded every 12 hours or so whereas the feeds are checked immediately after pings to pinging services so the Blog Search is far more up-to-date than even the Sitemaps.

  16. hostyle: is this true though? I’d like to hear your opinion a little later in the day 😛

    For those sites that are putting out content on a regular enough basis to wish to be spidered frequently doesn’t it make sense for them to have a feed anyway?

    As in, this only affects competition to be spidered first with new content right?

    So isn’t it really a question of ensuring that quality sites also have feeds to ensure rants don’t take over search rankings…

    And wouldn’t that eventually result in a settling of things and, more than likely, less ranters and ravers once they stop getting top billing?

    I dunnoe… maybe I’m just stuck in my viewpoint, but that’s how it looks to me. Be interested to hear what you think though.

  17. “For those sites that are putting out content on a regular enough basis to wish to be spidered frequently doesn’t it make sense for them to have a feed anyway?”

    Not necessarily. There are a lot more websites out there than just blogs/feed sites. By having quality and relevant content and semantics they can get high search engine rankings – you don’t need to update every day or week to have quality content. Indexing blogs more frequently will make google-bombing much easier and thus make stealing pagerank from said sites that much quicker to do. It looks like they are forcing everyone to either have a blog/feed – something which I’m sure Tom is all for – or face losing rankings. To me that sems like forcing people to use technology for technologys sake, rather than because its necessary or helpful.

    I don’t use feeds BTW. Maybe that would help explain where I am come from.

  18. Not necessarily. There are a lot more websites out there than just blogs/feed sites.

    I realise that – where I was coming from was that long standing, good quality content shouldn’t suffer overly. I have pages that are run through blogs and thus have feeds, and I have pages that are simply html. While the blog/feed stuff may get picked up nice and snappy-like, the other content does well over all.

    So what I meant was that if you are putting out regular content and don’t have a feed, then yes you may suffer… because those around you publishing frequently through blogs/feeds will be picked up quicker and be syndicated etc etc…

    But if you have a well structured site, full of relevant content, that doesn’t update frequently you will more or less hold your position, much as you always did. After all there is more to search engine rankings than simply being spidered. And if you have content that doesn’t change frequently then you’ve already been spidered for it and if it’s well thought out quality content with good linkage etc you should be doing ok.

    Your only real issue here is that it is now so much easier for people to publish, and search engines liking fresh content, you may need to consider updating more frequently yourself in order to compete with others who may have good quality, relevant and regular content in your field.

    As for Google-bombing, I’m not too worried. There have always been dirty tricks around trying to steal rankings – all part of the game. I think a) they probably have a limited lifespan and b) thus far at least by following ethical practices I’m happy with results I get in search engines.

    I dunnoe. What do you think Tom?
    I have a feeling that somewhere between Tom’s view, hostyle’s view and my own there probably lies reality… 😉

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