Sphere, the latest entrant to a competitive field of blogosphere
exploration, launched with some fanfare last week. The new search engine, which has focused very
tightly on offering up-to-the-minute information from the world of blogging, has received very
positive reviews so far, from a number of prominent bloggers and reviewers including
TechCrunch and Graywolf.
The best commentary I’ve seen so far, however, is from
Greg Sterling at Search Engine Journal. What Greg focuses on is the impact of blog search on
the local vertical – how blogs emphasize the information which is important to a local, geographically
interested search. Greg concludes his comments saying:
What we fundamentally need to see is integration of blog content with general search results so
that consumers can obtain, in one results set, the entire range of relevant information. And
because of this lack of integration, blog search is definitely an area of opportunity for
someone — maybe Sphere.
It’s unquestionably certain that the major players in search have done relatively little with
blog search. Since neither Google nor Yahoo have given any significant effort to their blog searches,
there’s tons of room for some more valuable work.
I’m wondering why it is that Google hasn’t done more with their blog search – is there something
stirring in there which just hasn’t come to light? It seems like a great candidate to pull
results from their blog search into Google Local or as a "vertical creep" into their
main search results.
I’m sure that one challenge is associating quality geographical information with most blog posts.
After all, the web is fairly inherently disassociated with specific localities. It would be very
interesting to make use of some kind of meta data in blogs which created a geographic center for
the site. For example, Blogger currently allows you to set
your time zone. If they allowed you to set your geographical location and incorporated that
information into the site meta data this would provide an immediate way of providing local data
to blogs with a fairly high level of accuracy.