Ask’s Blog/Feed Search Tool

Chris Sherman at Search Engine Watch has an extensive write-up of Ask’s new and improved blog search. I agree with much of what he says about it being very user friendly — however it’s still a power-user product — and differentiated from other blog search engines.

I like how you can subscribe to blogs right from the results page with a pull-down menu, and the sort features (time, relevance and popluarity) are very nice. Also, binoculars is a very helpful tool (like Browster) across the site. One thing that was especially impressive is how quickly it indexed my own blog posts (from tonight).

I’ve argued before that there’s tons of local content in the “blogosphere” and getting that content out of blogs and community sites and into search results is a fundamental issue and challenge for Local Search. For example, here’s a comparison of the query “best bagel in New York” on:

Ask Local (Citysearch content)
Ask blog/feed search

I’m not trying to pick on Ask; all the engines have the same issues. Rather I’m just trying to illustrate how relevant content is segregated and distributed in different areas. Bringing all this content together in a concise and coherent way that gets me quickly to the “best bagel in new york” is a challenge for the next generation of search.

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