Blogger have just introduced, in beta, a new "Blog Search" facility you can use Blogger style or Google style, and also through your Blogger navbar or dashboard. (One mystery: they say "The Navbar, however, provides two buttons: one to search the blog you are currently viewing, and one to search all blogs." My navbar only shows one button, still, and it's the same for other Blogspot blogs I've checked. Anyone else got the two button thing?? [Edited 24 Sept:] Both buttons are showing up now. Must have been a teething issue.)
It seems to be basically a Google search but limited to blogs - not just Blogger.com/Blogspot.com blogs though, but all blogs which publish feeds (so interestingly, no feed means no Google Blog Search - so if you haven't turned your feed on, do. In Blogger it's Settings, Site Feed, and make sure Publish Site Feed is set to Yes (it should be by default anyway - Blogger normally create the feed file for you whether or not you make use of it)). Google will also be producing a form to manually add your blog.
It even seems to index Technorati tag pages, see for example the top result in this search, though it's a mite peculiar that the title links to a Technorati tag page and the blog link at the bottom of that item (which I think is meant to be a link to the blog that the post came from) doesn't, and I've noticed other mismatches of this type too.
And if it just indexes blogs by feed, I wonder if this means blogs which publish limited feeds with only excerpts will find that only parts of posts get indexed?
Their comprehensive FAQ notes that this new search only shows posts from about June 2005 at the moment, though they are working on including older posts (a good thing - I hope they recrawl old posts in case they may have been edited, too).
You can search not only for words/phrases (in quotes), but also for URLs, so you can find which blogs link to your blog or even to a particular post. However it doesn't eliminate "internal" links so the results will include your own posts too, if you've linked to any of your own posts.
As you'd expect there are search options to enable you to search e.g. just within a particular blog (or indeed blogs) or URLs, or to limit the search by date; and there are advanced search options too with the usual Google search operators plus some new blog-specific operators. (From what I can see, though, typing a URL in the Find box gives exactly the same results as typing link:URL in that box, or typing the URL in the Find references box. Go figure...)
In the search results, they may show entire blogs matching your search, as well as specific posts. And if a particular post in the search results list has been linked to from other blog posts there's a neat "References" link which lists those other posts.
However, they still don't let you search Blogger.com user profiles, so my Blogger.com profile search form (which allows searching for particular interests, favourite movies etc) still has some use, as may my post on different ways to search Blogger.
This is all good stuff though, yay to Blogger and Google. I hope they'll introduce tagging and tag pages next, it would be great to be able to access tag pages at Google speeds with Google comprehensiveness. And how about categories...?
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