When Google launched an upgraded meme-tracking version of their Blog Search tool last year, some people referred to it as the Techmeme Killer but the buzz faded almost as fast as breaking news stories disappear from the Techmeme radar and today, I don’t think any of the tech bloggers are using Google Blog Search to track top stories.
At the time of writing this story, the top headlines on Google Blog Search are about iPod shuffle, iTunes 8.1 and Google behavioral advertising (all of them are about a day old) while the story making headline on Techmeme is about the just launched Google Voice.
Steve Rubel recently made a very interesting observation that traffic to Google Blog Search has remained flat in the past few months while both Technorati and Twitter Search are heading north and that Twitter Search just managed to surpass Google Blog Search in web traffic.
The graph is all the more interesting because Google Blog Search earlier replaced Technorati as the default service for tracking "incoming links" on millions of WordPress blogs.
Why is Google Blog Search almost still? You normally use a blog search engine for two things – ego-surfing (or tracking reactions to a particular story) and real-time search – and in both these situations, Twitter has proved itself to be a better alternative to Google Blog Search.
Ego Surfing: Technorati has done a great job at removing spam blogs from their index while no spammer will promote your blog links on Twitter so it remains relatively free of any link spam (use backtweets with your domain to test this). On the other hand, Google Blog Search indexes too many splogs (or sites that republish other RSS feeds) and therefore their results aren’t really useful most of the times.
Real Time Search: There was a time when Blog Search engines were the only way to search for "fresh content" on the web but that obviously changed with the rising popularity of Twitter and FriendFeed. Now even the regular web search bots of Google can crawl content within minutes of getting published so there’s little need for people to use a "specialist" blog search tool.
Lack of interest among users could explain why Google is not actively working on improving blog search. You may ask if that’s the case, why is Technorati going up? Well, that’s because Technorati has some 12 million pages in Google’s index and their growth could be through organic traffic.