Google is reportedly planning to offer a separate blog-search tab.
CEO Eric Schmidt made the announcement on Monday, at the JP Morgan Technology and Telecom conference. 'Soon the company will also offer a service for searching Web logs, known as "blogs,"' reported Reuters.
It isn't clear if weblogs will be removed from the main search results, but precedent suggests they will be. After Google acquired Usenet groups from Deja.com, it developed a unique user interface and a refined search engine, and removed the groups from the main index. After a sticky start, Usenet veterans welcomed the new interface. Google recently acquired Blogger, and sources suggest this is the most likely option.
Bloggers too are likely to welcome their very own tab as a legitimization of the publishing format. But many others will breathe a sigh of relief as blogs disappear from the main index.
"I just want a search engine that works," laments Chris Roddy, a politics and linguistics undergraduate at the University of Emory.
"I can get a Google search with porn turned off; why can't I get blogs turned off too?" he asked on Slashdot.
Google has strived in vain to maintain the quality of its search results in the face of a blizzard of links generated by a small number of sources. (Google searches 3,083,324,652 pages as of 4PM PT today. Assuming there are one million bloggers, and generously assuming they have a hundred pages each, that amounts to 0.032 per cent of web content indexed by Google. Recent research by Pew put the number of blog readers as opposed to writers, as "statistically insignificant").
However, through dense and incestuous linking, results from blogs can drown out other sources.
"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," wrote Roddy. "And through some fluke of their evil software, they seem to get indexed really fast, so when a major political or social event happens, Google is noised to the brim with blogs and you have to start at result number 40 or so before you get past the blogs."
It'll be interesting to see what this feature does to this site's traffic; the vast majority is directed here from search engines, although I haven't really been keeping track of what they're searching for lately.