Note that everyone's definition of a blog is
different; in Google's eyes, a site "counts" as a blog if it offers
an RSS feed and is updated regularly. One potentially significant
limitation is that Google only indexes the content in the feed
rather than the blog itself.
This means that for
blogs generating snippets in their
feeds, much of the full-text content isn't
searchable through Google's Blog Search. It also doesn't include
most news sources (so as not to overlap with Google News, of
course), so keep in mind that what you see in Google Blog Search is
unmediated, first-hand reporting of current events and not edited
news sources, such as newspapers and
In any event, if it has the
Google brand, it will be adopted. I'm
waiting for the first time I hear "I BlogSearched him, but he isn't
talking about me."
does Google Blog Search do? It has most of
the bells and whistles of Google's Web search, particularly if you
click through to the "Advanced Blog Search" page. You can search for
all the words (AND), the exact phrase, "at least one of the words"
(OR), "without the words" (NOT), or you can
limit keywords to the blog post
You can also conduct a more
restrictive search by looking for words in the blog's name, posts by
a particular author, and - my favorite - posts written before, after
or within certain dates. One of the advantages of Google's Blog
Search is that the search results can be sorted by Google's
relevance ranking or by date.
As with some
other blog search tools, you can set up an RSS or Atom feed of
search results. If, for example, you want to monitor what people are
saying about nanotechnology. Run the search in Blog Search, click
the "Sorted by date" link to re-sort the results (the default, which
you can't change, is relevance-sorting), and
then click one of the links at the bottom of the search results
page. You can select either RSS or Atom, and either 10 or 100
results. Copy the resulting URL into your feed reader, and you
have an electronic clipping service of the blogosphere's take
Note that you can tap into
Google's blog search index in several ways. The direct approach is
but you can also go to
search.blogger.com (if you have a blogger.com account).
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, one of the biggest
(and not well-surfaced) limitations of Google Blog Search is that it
isn't actually searching the full text of blogs, but merely the
content that appears in blog feeds. For bloggers who only include
the first couple of sentences of a blog entry in
a feed - particularly those bloggers who focus on commentary
rather than pointers to cool Web sites - this is a serious
Another limitation, at least for
now, is that the Google Blog Search index
only dates back to March 2005. Google says that it is working on
indexing older posts as well, and it is a fact of the blogosphere
that anything more than a few months old is, well, old. In any
event, check it out and see how Blog Search compares to your current
favorite blog searching tool.
© 2005 Mary Ellen Bates all rights reserved.