Google feed / blog search follows MSN, – avoids confusion


Poalo Valdermarin has noticed the Google feed crawler is pinging his blog (via Dave Winer)



The user interface to the results is Google Blog Search, currently in beta (live last night).  (This follows MSNs feed search going live earler this month). Results seems reasonably comprehensive - I ran a link search for links to this blog and keyword search for 'Google Blog Search beta' - it works: at time of writing, there were 12 minute-old results from blog posts using the RSS / Atom feed search.



Feed Search Confusion



I think this last point is something that can be easily
misunderstood.  It is one things to search content IN feeds (RSS
atom, whatver).  It is
quite another the search and then subscribe TO the results via a feed
(RSS, Atom, whatever).



At the end of August I wrote about the fact that none of the big search players were playing in this feed search space.  (2 weeks and everything has changed!).



Once of the comments to my post, written by Elle Finkelstein - author of the recent RSS for Dummies (I recommend it - i'm in it 😉 - shows the misunderstanding I'm referring to:

"MSN definitely has search feeds: search.msn.com. Do the search and
scroll to the RSS button at the bottom of the results page. For Google,
you can try Googlealert.com, an unaffiliated site that uses Google's
Web API (with Google's permission of course). For Yahoo, you can create
a search feed for the news only (news.yahoo.com). Again, do the search
and use the XML button on the results page. There are several others
that I list in my book, Syndicating Web Sites with RSS Feeds For
Dummies, including Moreover and Newsgator."


I replied in the comments:

"Thanks Ellen.




Re: MSN. You are right in that http://search.msn.com has feeds you can subscribe to, but that is not the same as the engine searching RSS feeds.




re: Googlealert.com, again, not what I'm taking about. Is good for
indexed news and the crawled web, but doesn't cover RSS feeds provided


by blogs, etc.




re: Yahoo news, same again.




What I'm talking about here is searchable RSS content (blogs, news, etc) - this is the real-time side of the searchable web.




The delivery of search results via RSS is different a thing.




thanks,


Alex."


Ellen responded on her blog yesterday:

"It took me a few days to get it (and then some deadlines intervened as well before I could blog this).



...I don’t think this is clear to most people. In fact, I don’t really understand the technology behind it either."


Avoiding the RSS - Atom - Feed Search vs Subscribe Confusion



Here a keyword search using MSN feed search for content in feeds.  Here are the results in RSS.  Two different things.



So then the question becomes 'what kind of feeds do you want
search?'.  Blog feeds?  News feeds?  Weather update
feeds? Stock price change feeds?  Users want to filter by content
type AND choose their delivery mode (RSS, webUI, email, alerts). 
The service providers need to make this distinction very clear.



It is a smart move by Google to brand their search 'Google Blog Search' (oh, and a smart move to introduce the service too - after MSN...).  From the average user's perspective, they don't care how
the blogs are getting searched (they don't care whether the data source
is RSS / Atom feeds or web page content) as far as the user is
concerned it is another content type, like images, books, email. 
This 'tabbing by content type' approach is also how IceRocket does things .  I think this is the right strategy as it avoids the 'rss search' confusion.







Update:



Technorati's David Sifry congratulates Google (not like the 80's or 90's these, is it?).

Robert Scoble is impressed with Google Blog Search (we're in the naughties, folks)



Comments (5)

  1. Wayne says:

    "oh, and a smart move to introduce the service too – after MSN"

    Google gets a lot more attention when they released their version though don’t they?

    Maybe that’s because nobody likes Microsoft for trying to rig every market they’re in and trick users into *only* using Microsoft products.

  2. MSDNArchive says:

    Wayne, you came all the way to my blog and give me a lame dis like that!

    Common, you can do better.

  3. Kevin OKeefe says:

    Not sure I understand all the discussion here Alex. Question for me this morning, and me be what you are talking about, is what is being searched. The blog in entirety? The RSS feed itself (does excerpt v full feed then matter big time)? The particular blog post in entirety once the feed has been identified, though not sure how that would work?

    Welcome your thoughts.

    – Kevin

  4. MSDNArchive says:

    Hey Kevin, I’ll have to explain over lunch 🙂

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