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On RSS, Blogs, and Search

By - December 01, 2003

I’ve been thinking lately about the role of blogs and RSS in search, and that, of course, has led me to both the Semantic Web and to Technorati, Feedster, and many others. Along those lines, I recently finished a column for 2.0 on blogs and business information. I can’t reveal my conclusions yet (my Editor’d kill me) but suffice to say, I find the intersection of blogging, search, and the business information market to be pretty darn interesting.
I’m certainly not alone. Moreover has created “Enterprise-Grade Weblog Search” – essentially, a zietgiest mining tool for corporations. One can imagine similar products from any of the RSS search engines, or even from the major marketing agencies of the world. On the other end of the spectrum (making blogs easier to read for consumers, as opposed to easier to mine for product marketers), Meg Hourihan is fast at work on Kinja, which is going to be a blog of blogs that will make finding and following blogs easier. Bloglines is doing similar work.
What makes this interesting from the perspective of search is the structured nature of what is being searched – blog postings and news articles, for the most part (or maybe I should say the data is “vaguely structured” – a term in a paper I just read – more on that later). Anyway, I sense a pretty potent market shaping up. Anyone know of other folks, companies, or news I should know about?

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4 thoughts on “On RSS, Blogs, and Search

  1. I’ve been thinking about this also, focusing on RSS in knowledge discovery and management. For some interesting references, look at http://dambrot.blogs.com/justsaying/2003/11/biologically_mo.html.

  2. Betsy Devine says:

    I can’t wait to read your column. Business angles on blog search are fascinating, e.g.:

    Product comparisons http://feedster.com/blog/archives/255_Comparisons_are_Feedsterous.html

    Company image watch and tech support
    http://feedster.com/blog/archives/251_Whos_talkin_smack_about_you.html

  3. Frank Ruscica says:

    John,

    How are you? I’m Frank Ruscica, and, in collaboration with XSB lead architect David Warren, my company, The Opportunity Services Group, is building an XSB-powered query optimizer for searching/navigating FOAF/Atom-encoded “blognets” (Movable Type supports both, Blogger supports Atom).

    In reference to which Danny Ayers, a prominent voice on RDF-dev and elsewhere, writes:

    “XSB + blognets = whoah, cool!”

    (Context of Danny’s remark here: http://dannyayers.com/archives/002087.html)

    Why XSB? In brief: XSB is the world’s highest-performing query engine for datalog with stratified negation. Out of which we have carved our 1.0 query language.

    Here’s some of what we at OSG see developing in blog search/navigation:

    Google just entered the semantic blogging space, via Blogger’s support for the Atom, the XML-based would-be standard for blog structure, which can be losslessly converted to RDF. Add support for the RDF dialect FOAF, to encode links between blogs, and query tools, and a precisely searchable/navigable blogspace is enabled.

    Very good for ad placement…

    So watch for Google to output ad management tools based on Open Office.

    And a whole Ebay-style ecosystem to use the tools.

    And lots of developers to build out the toolkits…

    Especially (college) student developers, who will, along with their peers, use Google as both a Friendster substitute and a professional reputation enhancer.

    All told, then, Blogger’s Atom support sets up a dynamic wherein Google and open source become VERY mutually reinforcing…

    Which serves Google in the upcoming Search War…

    Of course, much more can be said (how Microsoft may react, how IBM factors in, etc.), so let me know if you are interested…

    Beyond this, I’ve been enjoying your blog for a little while now. Good stuff.

    Regards,

    Frank Ruscica

    Founder
    The Opportunity Services Group :: Have Fun to Get Ready
    http://www.opportunityservices.com

  4. Scott Rafer says:

    From the enterprise perspective, it is the combination of public blog/article/RSS info with internal corporate information, also likely stored as RSS, that creates value. I don’t personally think that the search aspect will be all that different but the authoring, storage, and archiving may be tricky. The company to watch on this kind of thing at the moment is Socialtext.

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