Google Upgrades Blog Search with Memetracking
Google has launched a new home page for Google Blog Search, leveraging some of the content situation tools from Google News.
This may or may not be a good thing depending on how you like the aesthetics of Google News. Some think it's ugly. I've gotten comfortable with it.
As with Google News, blog categories, such as politics, technology, entertainment and sports, run vertically on the left side of the Web site, but I appreciate the arrangement of blog posts from those categories into clusters concerning the same story.
This is efficient for certain users at certain times; if you go to Google Blog Search and stumble across the same stories about the Senate's financial bailout, or presidential campaign posts, then great.
But the user experience is inconsistent because search results from the categories don't seem to be clustered.
For example, I searched for "Socialtext 3.0" and "Google Green Data Center" and got lists of posts on both subjects, which were the source of several blog posts this week. These were arranged in typical Google search fashion, with a vertical list of 10 links.
Perhaps readers benefited from clusters on those topics yesterday, Oct. 1, when the new Blog Search site was launched.
It's called Blog Search (not Blog Guess) for a reason, which means most users are going to go to the site to, well, search. The cluster technology, a type of memetracking, needs to be more consistent.
To that end, ReadWriteWeb, TechCrunch and other sites have called out Google Blog Search for aping popular memetracking sites such as TechMeme and its politico cousin Memeorandum.
Not to sound too narcissistic, but I don't care so long as the site helps me find what blog posts are quoting me. A Google Blog Search for my name produced a number of blogs that had linked to me, which helps me figure out who's tracking Google Watch.
I can't claim the same result upon searching my name on Google News or TechMeme, for that matter, so Google Blog Search is a great service to me.
One other feature: When you click on the green link where it specifies the number of blogs in a cluster, you're presented with a timeline of when the meme's popularity peaked. This is useful for folks who want to try to guess when a follow-up post on a topic might strike gold in terms of readers.
The new Google Blog Search is currently solely in English now, but Google will add support for more languages and add new features over the next several months.