Google launched its dedicated blogs search engine. Many have reported on it and I did not feel that I had anything of value to add to the chatter. However, this morning I came across this old article from "The Register while looking for more information about Google's blog search features.
The article's premise was that a dedicated blog search could prompt Google to remove blogs from its main search index, thus "improving" the quality of its search results. This speculation was based on Google removing Usenet postings from search results after acquiring Deja.com.
A graduate interviewed for the article commented "The main problem with blogs is that, as far as Google is concerned, they masquerade as useful information when all they contain is idle chatter".
The issue: trackbacks. "The low information quality of blog-infested Google results is a consequence of bloggers' attempts to introduce community aspects to what remains a solitary activity. The auto-citation feature 'Trackback' is frequently fingered as the culprit: many search results Google returns are trackbacks."
The article ends by pre-empting bloggers reactions: "One group is likely to protest long and hard, however: and that's people who have taken advantage of this quirk to use Google as their primary promotion channel or reputation creator. "
Putting the genie back into its bottle?
I won't speculate as to whether Google will remove blogs from its main search engine or not but if it did, I suspect that it will remove a big chunk of bloggers' ability to influence others with their views and opinions. If I were Land Rover and the second highest link in a search on my latest car model was a catalogue of disasters told real-time by a desilussioned owner, I will be pressured to react as I would know that millions of prospective buyers search for infos online before purchasing. If this legitimate rant was self-contained within a "blog" section, I may think that there is less pressure to act as it is "not mainstream" and most would not come across it. Food for thoughts.
Would love to hear some views on that.