Early Wednesday, Google updated its blog search tool to track news stories as they pop up on various blogs. Like Google News, the company is taking a product that began as something for search and making it a destination of its own.
What's different in blog search compared with news is that the front page shows how many outlets wrote about a story and how old in a very different manner. In blog search's case the number of sources is given a far higher prominence, and instead of tracking how fresh a story is, Google has chosen to display how long it's had the limelight.
Competing services like Techmeme, Blogrunner, and Tailrank (currently down) have offered a similar bird's eye view of the news, however, none of those have had the benefit of being tied into a company that maintains such a large search index and proprietary crawling system. While Google Blog search will largely remain a place for people to search for subjects as they appear on blogs, this new system will make it far easier to pick up on how newsy an item is when searching for it.
In addition to this basic clustering page, when users dig in deeper to see all the coverage they can now see by time how a story has been picked up. Each meme is tracked in 16-hour stints, with a chart to match. The stories will also be reordered as they gain prominence or interest--a system that Google has not disclosed the inner workings of.
For now the new blog search home page is limited to English, although a post on the Official Google Blog says other languages will be pushed out in the next few months.