Google has relaunched Google Blog Search today, taking the nearly forgotten service into a new realm: meme tracking.
The new Google Blog Search takes some of the tech from Google News and groups blog posts into clusters based on story popularity on the front page. Users can get a whole of blogosphere listing, or are able to view popular stories based on topic, including technology. On the break down page, users can view each blog covering the story, and also get a trend graph showing the number of blogs running the story when.
The end result is traditional Google sparsity in aesthetics: lots of white, and lacking visually, but it's the results that count, and Google Blog Search does it well.
Is Google Blog Search a Techmeme killer? Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb thinks that it may be. For the first time we see a real Techmeme competitor, with a wealth of advantages. Scope is the biggest selling point: Techmeme only tracks a few thousand blogs at most, possibly less, where as Google Blog Search includes all blogs. Then there's the question on fair and reasonable results: Techmeme results a weighed in favor of certain sites over others, and the results can also be subject to manual interference, where as Google Blog Search doesn't delve into petty personal politics, instead delivering results based on actual relevance and link juice.
I'm agreeing with Marshall that this is a Techmeme killer, but with the one proviso: there isn't much traffic on Techmeme to kill anyway. Quantcast puts Techmeme's traffic at 12,000 unique visitors a month, and Alexa shows a long term decline in traffic as well. Even if we presume Techmeme's traffic is 10x bigger again, it's still a case of an elephant squashing an ant.