After years of barely changing at all, Google has unveiled a major change for its Google Blog Search tool. As a whole bunch of people are reporting, the site now provides a kind of “meme-tracker” view of what’s being written about. It’s much like Google News, but next to the main headline there’s a little box that says “92 blogs over 15 hours” or words to that effect, telling you how many other blogs have written about the topic. When you click on that text, you get taken to a page with all of the various blog headlines and a cool little graph that shows the activity on a timeline.

More than one person is calling this a “Techmeme-killer” (because of course new things always have to kill old things or it’s just no fun). But is it? I don’t think so. For one thing, I like the fact that Techmeme.com is kind of dynamic — even if I don’t really understand how it operates. Blog posts go from being a sub-link of a sub-link to being a headline post, then disappear altogether; others form their own sub-group and then get reabsorbed, and some form headlines without any links at all, which makes some people mad. It may be a black box, but I kind of like that. Fred Wilson says that he likes it because it’s more personal than just an algorithm.

Obviously Google’s new blog search has only been around for a little while, but it certainly doesn’t feel that dynamic to me. All the posts are given the exact same prominence, and it’s not clear whether they are even ranked at all. The chart with the timeline is a nice touch — a kind of Google Trends sort of thing, showing you whether a topic is ramping up or not, which will be good for the bandwagon-jumpers — but it would be even better if it showed you at exactly which point on the timeline each of the sub-headlines appears. I will definitely keep checking the site out, in the same way I try to check multiple sources of news of any kind.

Note: Techmeme founder Gabe Rivera says he doesn’t think that the term meme-tracker defines any kind of meaningful category of products, and that the word is “incredibly lame.” Hard to argue. And as Alex Chitu at Google Operating System notes, there are some holes left for Google to fill. Ethan Kaplan of blackrimglasses seems to like it though, and Matt Cutts has a rundown on some of the differences between the two.

About the author

Mathew 2415 posts

I'm a Toronto-based former senior writer with Gigaom and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

11 Responses to “Google: Should Techmeme be worried?”
  1. Conservatives who gave up on Palin reflect on the abusive mail they got from other conservatives. http://is.gd/3pdI and http://is.gd/3mQS

  2. Conservatives who gave up on Palin reflect on the abusive mail they got from other conservatives. http://is.gd/3pdI and http://is.gd/3mQ

  3. Blogging has been called the art of posting. Google added to its Blog Search page http://is.gd/3oZn the art of clustering: http://is.gd/3pdI

  4. Somebody had suggested this feature on google news group on Nov-2007 http://groups.google.com/group/news-Suggestions

  5. Mathew, that Techmeme paragraph is just perfect – describes the collective feelings of technology blogosphere precisely. Maybe we all seem to like Techmeme so much because we are mesmerized with its algorithm no one seems to understand how it operates?

  6. […] more check out Mathew Ingram, who doesn’t think Google blog search is a Techmeme-killer, and Google Operating System, […]

  7. […] displayed in Blogsearch it is limited in its presentation. Whereas with Techmeme it is – as Mathew Ingram says a little more dynamic in feeling For one thing, I like the fact that Techmeme.com is kind of […]

  8. […] For another view on the ‘new’ Blogsearch see what Fred Wilson, A VC, has to say in Hacker News, Techmeme, and Google Blog Search. Mathew Ingram isn’t too impressed either. […]

  9. I don't think that Google can kill techmeme's charm. Although people are biased to google for Search but in other services, its having a full competiton even from new players of the niche.

  10. […] displayed in Blogsearch it is limited in its presentation. Whereas with Techmeme it is – as Mathew Ingram says a little more dynamic in feeling For one thing, I like the fact that Techmeme.com is kind of […]

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