More and more people are spending free time (and work time) online and lots of those people want to discover interesting things on the web. Google Blogsearch’s new home page applies that insight with a browsable version of what’s going on in the blogosphere. The UI design is a little reminiscent of Google News, but the new Blogsearch home page uses a lot of different code.
It’s great to see this new home page go live, because I’ve watched as the blogsearch team in New York pulled this together. Some people will compare it to Techmeme, but the sites are quite different. Here are a few of the differences in my mind:
– Techmeme focuses on very reputable blogs. That means that spammers find it hard to show up on Techmeme, which is great. But it also means that you’re more likely to see posts from the same A-list sites often, so you don’t get as much diversity. Techmeme tends to select the “best of the best” stories; on the Blogsearch home page, you can keep clicking the Next button until you get tired of going deeper. On an individual story on the Blogsearch home page, you’re more likely to see a lot of different voices, not just the top-of-the-pile blogs. For example, for the “Apple drops parts of its NDA” story, I count 38 posts about it on Techmeme and 121 posts on the Blogsearch home page:
So you’re getting lots of story choices from different blogs, plus there’s the full blogsearch backend if you want to search in more detail.
– Techmeme is heavily focused on tech news. The new Blogsearch home page surfaces stories from the wider blogosphere. When Lehman Brothers went bankrupt, that news didn’t really show up on Techmeme much, other than how Lehman’s spending on Information Technology (IT) might change. The Blogsearch home page is a blend of different blog topics. You can get technology-only or business-only stories, but they are a click below the home page. There’s a few categories (world news, science, video games) that you won’t find on Techmeme or its sister sites.
– Techmeme is faster to pick up new stories. I don’t think the Blogsearch folks have focused on the speed of detecting new items so much as showing a diverse set of information. That might change over time; I just don’t think that was the highest priority for the initial launch.
– The two sites do have a different editorial voice. The Blogsearch home page is more likely to have gadget posts, new software versions (did you know that the Gimp 2.6 just came out?), and embraces the video game niche. The Blogsearch home page also tilts more toward bloggy blogs as opposed to mainstream news sources. Techmeme’s sister site WeSmirch is solidly about celebrity gossip; while the entertainment section of the Blogsearch home page mentions a Neil Gaiman reading:
So I view the sites as very different. I love Techmeme and will keep going there every day, but I plan to make the Blogsearch home page a regular stop now as well. Every discovery site from Techmeme to FriendFeed to StumbleUpon to freshnews to Alltop to popurls gives you a different lens to discover new things on the web. I think it’s nice to have another site that highlights interesting things.
Discovery is different than search, but they’re definitely related. I’m glad that the blogsearch team is looking at new ways to surface interesting things on the web. Congrats to the people that contributed to this launch, and I hope more people at Google start to think about surfacing fun stuff on the web.