Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lost whilst searching

Like many bloggers I suspect, your humble Devil used to track links back to The Kitchen through Google's Blogsearch alerts and shoved through via an RSS feed. Lately, however, this has proved to be worse than useless, for the reasons that Scott Rosenberg describes.
The Google Blog Search results have generally been the fastest and most useful tool of this kind (Google displaced Technorati, which had long served in this role, some time ago). But a couple of months ago Google Blog Search started becoming pretty much useless. Instead of only reporting links from the “main” blog content, it reported all links on a blog page, including the so-called “sidebar” or blogroll, where many bloggers place a lengthy static list of blogs they read. So this means that, for instance, every time JD Lasica adds a new post to his blog at Social Media, which includes Wordyard in its blogroll, I get a new listing in the Google Blog Search for Wordyard, even though the post has nothing to do with Wordyard. This completely messes up the utility of Google’s search for me — and, from what I see posted by other serious bloggers, many other users.

As Scott points out, Google has built its reputation on providing meaningful results from huge amounts of information, and so this development is a definite step back. In fact, it renders the whole service useless.

"Well, so what?" I hear you cry. "So, DK cannot see who's talking about him—big deal: his ego doesn't need any more fluffing."

The point is that I don't simply use the Blogsearch results as an ego boost: for me, it is a "way into" the plethora of information with which I am deluged every morning. I must confess that the loss of this tool has been partially responsible for my sporadic blogging of late (well, that and sheer, goddamned laziness): having got into the habit of working one way, the energy barrier to trying to plunge into the swirling clouds of information every morning just seems to be near-insurmountable.

Although Google are apparently working on a fix, no one seems to know quite when or how it might occur, and so it seems that your humble Devil will have to try to remember how he used to approach the morning's news...


Guido Fawkes said...

That explains why my Google Alerts have gone beserk.

Anonymous said...

That also explains why the incoming links in my Wordpress dashboard have been meaningless pants for the last few weeks.

Anonymous said...

Yup, my Google Alerts screwed up too. Nice to see who's sidebar I'm in though. Even started getting ones for an old 18 Doughty Street alert.

James Higham said...

When your engine ceases to do as it is supposed to, it is very difficult to make do with a patch up hotch potch and it detracts from the fun of it all.

Personally, I don't give a stuff about GBS.

Anonymous said...


Any thoughts on this, this or this? Given that Parker-Jones is the leader of the Libertarian Party, perhaps you'd care to comment.

Thatcher's Child said...

Maybe this is a sign that rather than writing about people who talk about you, you should use Google News Most Popular.

The worst aspect of the Blogsphere is this talking about who's talking about you. Maybe this should be a sign that you discover the world outside your comfort zone!

MatGB said...

And as this comment box opened I got a Google alert for an incoming link to Not Little England. A blog over two years dead and suddenly people are linking to it again.

I'm even getting incoming links via blogsearch from my own comment linkback FFS. Utterly pointless. Wordpress switched to Google from technorati because Technorati was arse and missed more than it picked up.

Now Google is picking up old blogroll links, comment links and similar. Utterly pointless.

That it hit blogsearch was annoying, but if it's hitting alerts as well, that makes the service really difficult to use, and I tend to use it for work for public figure clients as well. Gah!

Blogpulse and Bloglines still seem to work, but they always missed a few things that Google didn't. Still better than Technorati though.

Don't suppose Wikio might be working on a published linkback list? We know they're tracking them, and it'd get me visiting them regularly.

Anonymous said...

Aaaahhh! That explains it.

I thought it was just another retrograde step on the Wordpress *upgrade* that we did.

Cheers for explanation - let us know when they find a fix.

Word Verification: cookin

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