Monday, November 28, 2005
Post II on Blogging
Google boosts blogging
15/09/2005 08:27 - (SA)
San Francisco - A new Google speciality search engine sifts through the internet's millions of frequently updated personal journals, a long-anticipated development expected to help propel blogging into the cultural mainstream.
The new tool, unveiled on Wednesday at blogsearch.google.com, focuses exclusively on the material contained in the journals known as web logs, or blogs.
Google, the internet's general search engine leader, first set its sights on blogs with its 2003 acquisition of a small startup called Blogger that makes software to publish and manage the journals.
Since that deal, Google had been expected to build a blogging-focused search engine - a mission finally accomplished by a group of developers in the company's New York office.
"There really has been a need for a world-class search product to expose this dynamic content to a worldwide audience," said Jason Goldman, who came to Google in the Blogger deal and is now the company's product manager for blogging search.
Over the past two years, blogs have become an increasingly popular vehicle for sharing opinions and information, sometimes breaking news and more often prodding the mainstream media into reconsidering how it has handled some big stories.
Just how big is the so-called 'blogosphere'?
A few people have been able to make a living largely off their blogs, or parlay them into book deals. Blogs also have been a source of embarrassment and angst, resulting in the firings of several workers, including a Google product manager, who angered their employers with revelations posted on their sites.
No one knows for certain just how big the so-called "blogosphere" has become. Technorati, the niche's top search engine so far, says it indexes 17.1 million sites spanning about 1.5 billion links.
Goldman declined to disclose the size of Google's blogging index.
Despite blogging's steady growth, its appeal has remained narrow, skewing primarily to younger audiences and technological trendsetters.
But given Google's broad reach, its speciality search engine is expected to provide blogging with additional momentum. Google's tool would allow searches not just for blogs written in English but also in French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese and other languages.
Yahoo and Microsoft could follow
The appearance of the new Google tool, which catalogues the latest blog postings by looking at the web feeds they generate, also makes it more likely that two other tech powerhouses and fierce rivals, Yahoo and Microsoft, will develop a similar feature.
Microsoft's next operating system, Vista, is supposed to feature built-in tools for Really Simple Syndication, or RSS, and Atom - the two most widely used techniques for letting people subscribe to web feeds to keep abreast of the latest postings on blogs and news sites.
"This sort of feels like 1995 when the web was just starting to explode. Now it feels like the same thing is happening to blogging," said Bob Wyman, chief technical officer for PubSub, which offers a web feed subscription service.
Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN already had been indexing blogs in their general search engines, but the broad approach reaps results that often buries blog links or points to outdated information.
By focusing exclusively on blog feeds, Google theoretically will be able to deliver fresher and more relevant results.
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