Search engines target Web logs

A new crop of search engines tuned specifically to unearth information from Weblogs and other news feeds are emerging to help simplify the process of searching and navigating Weblogs. To that end, The Fuzzy Group LLC recently launched Feedster, a search engine designed to monitor and index the RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds that comprise Weblogs. RSS is a Web content syndication format based on XML.

With the number of Weblogs multiplying rapidly, the need to search and index RSS feeds is clear. Other search engines focused on RSS feeds include Feeder, RSS Search, and Snarf, to name a few.

Feedster employs a traditional decentralized crawling model for Web search, but the technology includes a spider capable of indexing RSS feeds, according to Scott Johnson, president of Belmont, Mass.-based Fuzzy Group. The search engine also employs additional technology for relevance ranking and data exploration, he said. Users can search via a URL-based query or a keyword search.

"Feedster goes out and grabs RSS feeds on a very regular basis, indexes them, and makes them easily searchable and navigable," Johnson said.

Unlike typical Web search tools such as Google Inc. that index Web content at the page level, RSS-focused search engines index RSS feeds and do so more frequently and at a finer level of granularity. "There is a huge need for this capability in blogs. Blogs are heavily nested and interlinked. We take that data stream and go all the way with it. We are getting the whole information feed, storing it, and indexing it," Johnson said.

One application for RSS search in enterprises is to accurately monitor the burgeoning number of news feeds and Weblog postings, which could be vital for competitive intelligence or product research. A new feature currently under development in Feedster is designed to provide a personalized aggregate search capability that can build a view of information tailored to a particular theme or personal preference, according to Johnson.

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