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Yahoo tests blog search in Korea

Web portal quietly begins testing tools that may be coming to the U.S. market and would take on existing players such as Technorati.

Yahoo has quietly begun testing blog-search technology in Korea, a sign of coming tools for the U.S. market that will take on existing players such as Technorati.

In recent days, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company has introduced new search technology on its Korean blog site, which is designed to let people sign up to publish personalized Web journals.

The various search tools, which are available from a pull-down menu next to the search bar, let visitors retrieve content and photos within all Web logs, or just within most recent blog postings or favorite-tagged pages.

Yahoo is planning to begin testing the same capabilities for its U.S. blog-publishing service in the coming weeks, according to a source familiar with the plan. Yahoo search engineer Jeremy Zawodny also hinted at work the company is doing in the area at a recent conference in London, according to an attendee who runs the Cubicgarden.com blog.

Yahoo declined to comment on the Korean site or upcoming technology.

Web portals often try out new technologies in foreign markets. For example, Microsoft's MSN began experimenting with personalized news search in Europe before it launched in the United States in the last year.

Blogs are of particular interest to industry players like Yahoo because they are a powerful and multiplying form of content online, yet there are few tools to sift through all the material in real time. Chief Yahoo rivals Google and MSN have yet to introduce blog-specific search tools. Google, however, includes some blogs in general Web results.

The leading blog-search site, Technorati, reported this week that the number of blogs online is doubling every five and a half months. By the end of July, it was tracking 14.2 million blogs, with an addition of 80,000 new sites a day. (About 55 percent of the total number of blogs are considered active.)

Yahoo's coming blog-search will complement the company's social-networking and blog-publishing service, Yahoo 360, which was introduced earlier this year and is still in test mode.

Blog search will also tie into Yahoo's newly introduced advertising service for small publishers. The company said Wednesday that it started testing an ad network that lets bloggers and other small publishers place text ads on their sites to make extra money. Search tools can only help people find the blogs--and ads.