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Yahoo unveils blog search tool

Move follows launch of similar feature by rival Google last month.

Yahoo has revamped its news search tool to grab material from thousands of blogs in addition to headlines from 6,500 newspapers and magazines.

The company launched a test version of the new tool on Monday, saying it aims to give consumers a more complete view of the news.

"Our expanded news search dramatically increases the consumer's ability to find events that matter to them, from major news stories, citizen reporting, commentary and pictures that might not be covered by the mainstream media," Neil Budde, general manager of Yahoo News, said in a statement.

The move was largely expected ever since the company began testing a blog search feature on its Korean blog site in August.

The search tool unveiled on Monday separates blog headlines from other headlines, displaying them in different columns. By clicking on "all blog results," users can find photos related to their search from Flickr, Yahoo's photo sharing service. They may also find relevant material from Web sites they've marked as favorites via user-generated tagging.

Yahoo and Google are facing off in the blog arena. Google introduced blog search about a month ago, and last week it began a public test of a news reader service that lets users subscribe to headlines from blogs and news sites.

Because there are so many blogs, keeping on top of them is challenging. Technorati, a blog search specialist, tracks nearly 19 million blogs and says the number doubles every five months.

Initially, Yahoo News Search will have access to material from hundreds of thousands of blogs but will eventually scan millions, said Joff Redfern, a director in Yahoo's search unit.