Google, Inc., the search engine (and everything else) company has released a beta version of a blog search site that offers similar features to its most-popular web search engine. The new search engine scans blogs, the popular online journals that offer both professional journalists and citizen pundits simple access to online publication. Google Blog Search should give a bit of much-wanted visibility and authority to the burgeoning blogosphere.
Blogs generally offer fresher material than traditional websites. Even mainline news services such as The New York Times and CNN publish blogs to facilitate the timely distribution of breaking news.
Many blogs are also republished in RSS (Real Simple Syndication) format, which allows the content articles to be quickly scanned using RSS reader applications or a free extension to the open-source --and widely used-- web browser, Mozilla Firefox.
Blogs and their writers, known as bloggers, have gained international prominence following the recent U.S. presidential election and the Christmas-time tsunami that devastated Southeast Asia. Had it not been for the loss of electrical power and internet access throughout much of the Gulf Coast of the U.S., there would have been many more blogs reporting the effects of Hurricane Katrina.
Businesses have taken a cautious approach to blogging, failing to grasp the potential for customer service applications; however, this may change, partly as a function of Google's increasing the accessibility to blogged data.
My primary new sources are the RSS feeds for formal articles and blog entries from The New York Times, CNN, Reuters, and the BBC. I'm excited that Google has set aside a portion of its cataloging services specifically for blogged articles. Many of these offer opinions and color that don't make it through the traditional editorial process. I appreciate the value of blogs, not only for their frequency and currency, but for the additional detail and perspective that they offer.