elec­tions

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I’m sur­prised I didn’t know about this till recently, but Google Blog Search is some­thing that no blog­ger should ignore. (Here are some oth­er, albeit some­what old, first impres­sions.) Appar­ently, Google believes in blogs — “Google is a strong believ­er in the self-pub­lish­ing phe­nomen­on rep­res­en­ted by blog­ging…” — and extends their search prowess to the world of blogs. It looks and feels just like the stand­ard Google search, but one must ask the ques­tion: why both­er search­ing blogs? After all, aren’t blogs (like this one), just filled with the imma­ture rants of wan­nabe writers who just wouldn’t cut it in the real world of journ­al­ism?

No, I don’t believe it’s true in gen­er­al. Sure, the qual­ity of blogs does vary quite a bit — but they all serve some kind of a pur­pose. Wheth­er it’s a pro­fes­sion­al blog­ger con­trib­ut­ing in his or her field of expert­ise, or a uni­ver­sity stu­dent writ­ing about life, the uni­verse and crap like that, it’s all because they have some­thing to say. The abil­ity to link between blogs and com­ment on blogs cre­ates a kind of dynam­ic that encour­ages people to think — instead of merely being pass­ive con­sumers. That is a great thing to see. I sup­pose Andrew Keen wouldn’t agree, but just because he’s pub­lished in dead tree form doesn’t amount to much: see the Wiki­pe­dia Sign­post review. By being able to search exclus­ively in blogs, you too can par­ti­cip­ate in this part of the Inter­net — par­ti­cip­ate in free speech. You can find out things that tra­di­tion­al media will not cov­er — how-to’s in obscure top­ics, polit­ic­al rants that match your per­sua­sion. The res­ults you get are pretty good — see this descrip­tion of how it all works. Yes, Google’s thor­ough.

For blog­gers, it is import­ant that you are indexed by search engines, even if you are a small time blog­ger like me. What’s the point of writ­ing pub­licly if you don’t actu­ally intend on any­one read­ing it? I had known of Tech­nor­ati before this, but Tech­nor­ati has many irrit­a­tions that oth­er blog­gers have covered and I won’t cov­er here; any­way, Google’s over­taken it. To ping Google Blog Search, just add http://​blog​search​.google​.com/​p​i​n​g​/​R​PC2 to your list of serv­ers to ping.

In oth­er news, Google Maps fea­tures con­tent for the 2007 fed­er­al elec­tion. Click on the “My Maps” tab and it’s under the “Fea­tured con­tent” part. Over­lay the party col­ours onto the map of Aus­tralia, and you’d be sur­prised about the land area that the Liberals/​Nationals rep­res­ent!

On a final note, Google Blog Search and these spe­cial maps rather emblem­at­ic of the prob­lem that Google has so many fant­ast­ic ser­vices writ­ten by so many fant­ast­ic engin­eers that just aren’t see­ing much of the light of day because… there are just so many of them.

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