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« The Roll-Your-Own Mash-up Challenge | Main | Catching up: Part 2 – “AOL Going Once…” »

October 20, 2005

Catching up: Part 1: Yahoo! Blogsearch slants toward news

By Charlene Li

Apologies to my frequent readers for being off the blog-grid for a few days – I’ve got these other things called a job and family that I’ve been attending to so I’ve got a bit to make up (BTW, I ended up not getting the house).

So first up, Yahoo! added blog search to Yahoo! News last week. So now when you do a search, “traditional” news articles show up on the left and blogs (or in this case, RSS feeds) show up on the right in a special section. Yahoo! also includes Flickr photos and links from My Web.

First, I applaud Yahoo! for doing this as it showcases a key feature of blogs -- their ability to be fast and fleet, especially when it comes to breaking news. Yahoo! positioned this as its support for “grassroots journalism” – and I can imagine newsroom editors shifting uneasily as they contemplate having to compete head to head against bloggers on breaking stories. Has to make you wonder – when does a blog get moved from the right side to the left side of the page?

Second, while I like the implementation for current stories, I have to scratch my head and wonder where I would go to search for general information that’s also available on blogs. For example, I am thinking about taking a family vacation to Costa Rica and want to see what bloggers (and also, other sites) have to say about whether I am out of my mind to plan this with a 5 and 7 year old in tow!

Here are the results for Yahoo! News, regular Yahoo! Search, Google’s Blog search, and Google Search, and Technorati’s Search – and while Google’s Blog Search yielded the most results (and Yahoo! News came up, as expected, with none), I still didn’t get that hoped-for first person narrative. With this search, recency isn’t the key criteria – it’s actually probably more likely to be about links and authority. Purists would say, “just do a search” and I should then get the most relevant blogs AND sites. The problem is that if I’m looking for that unique voice that’s typical of blogs, I really can’t find it today. (BTW, I've resorted to just looking for travel blogs and searching within them for either family travel or costa rica posts - pretty sub-optimal).

I had written before that the major search engines entering the blog search space would lead to a downward spiral for independent blog search engines like Technorati. I still stand by that, especially now that Yahoo! has integrated blog search directly into one of its most commonly used areas (in September, Yahoo! News had 16.7 million visitors in the US, according to Nielsen//NetRatings).

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Comments

Wouter

Hi Charlene,

To search for the personal stories, better adjust your search strategy. You searched for words the tourist idustry is using. If you try something like ["Costa Rica" "we went"] in Google Blogsearch you get far more personal results. Perhaps those you were looking for. I actually wanted to start my comment on the use of " " in your searches, but that was not sufficient to polish up the results.

Charlene Li

Wouter: Thanks for the tip! Much, much better results.

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