Yahoo’s Blog Search, Too Little Too Soon

Technorati, one of the early entrants in the blog search arena has been beaten black and blue by blogosphere’s cognoscenti. Many of their complaints have been fair and justified. No one wants an arthritic search engine after all. Despite all the criticism heaped on them, I have not seen anyone come up with a better solution. Icerocket is not much of an improvement, and neither are offerings from Google. Say what you may about Technorati, but at-least it has a usable interface. Today, Yahoo launched its blog search tool, which has managed to confound and confuse. (I had reported in first week of September that this would be live by the time of playoffs. Well, almost.)

The Yahoo blog search is married to the Yahoo News Search and unless you look for the “blog sidebar” hard enough you are very likely to miss it. You really have to search for it. In case you think I am being unusually cruel and ungallant, well, try it yourself. The user interface is like water torture. Why, a company as fine as Yahoo, launches a supremely elegant podcast effort in the morning, only to give us a blog search tool that reminds you of the Baby-episode of Seinfeld. (Episode 85, in case you were wondering.) Yahoo’s excuse would be that their blog search is still in beta, and it would improve over time. Which makes me wonder: have we gone too far with this beta madness?

Though, Yahoo does perform admirably as a blog search engine. It helps you find a lot of results on a specific query, and while they are not as numerous as say technorati, they are “on topic.” I was fairly satisfied with the links the search engine brought up. Here, I feel a missed opportunity – they are using the same “RSS/Blog Search” mechanism in their search service, that mimics most of the older players. It doesn’t provide any relevance, or context. (Perhaps that is why I think you folks are going to like Sphere.) Having seen the search of most of the other vendors, including Google, Yahoo should have done a genre defining product, that broke new ground. In that regard, I find it lacking.