The Adventures of Systems Boy!

Confessions of a Mac SysAdmin...

Google Blog Search is Broken

Google Blog Search is broken. Which means my Series are broken. In fact, I'd say Google searching in general has gotten noticeably worse lately. (Has anyone else noticed this?) I've gotten pretty accustomed to implicitly trusting that Google search results will give me an accurate picture of what's out there on the web, but lately my trust has waned. Search results seem generally inconsistent compared to what they once were. And this scares me a little. But the most troubling thing for me, at the moment, is the totally busted Blog Search.

When I first started using Blogger I had certain reservations. One of them was the lack of organizational tools. But overall I liked its simplicity, and I liked that it was associated with Google. And I was able to mitigate many of the organizational problems using a combination of bookmarks and Google's own Blog Search. In particular, my Series section is completely powered by Google Blog Search and is really just searching my blog for specific titles common to articles in a given series. Google Blog Search has been in beta since I started using it, and it remains so. A lot of my older posts never even got indexed in the beginning, but I expected that, over time, this would change. That the service would get gradually better and better, with more and more features, and with better accuracy. Instead it's apparently been left to linger. Worse, its accuracy has suddenly declined to the point where searching this blog for the term "Three Platforms One Server Part" in the post title yields only three articles. Out of twelve. And it's not like it's just getting the most recent ones. No, it gets issues 12, 10 and 4. WTF? This is not good.

So this puts me at a crossroads. This blog, maybe more than anything, is a place for me to organize and refer back to documentation of projects I'm working on. If I can't even see a group of articles grouped logically in a series — even when they have the exact same text string in all their titles and all live on one domain (which, I should point out, is owned by Google themselves), and with no other way to organize posts built in to the Blogger system, how good an organizational tool can this be, really? So I have some choices:

  1. Quit Blogging.
  2. Live with it, you know, just suck it up and deal.
  3. Switch to another blogging system.
  4. Wait for the new Blogger, currently in Beta.

Options 1 and 2 are the least likely. Though I haven't been blogging much lately, I still feel I have things to share. I just need to find the time. But I don't see much point without certain organizational features I've come to rely on. Option 3 is tempting. I've only been blogging for a bit over a year, and switching now would be less painful than in another year, and might offer other advantages. But it's still probably more effort than I have time to expend right now. So I'm thinking I'll go with option 4. Wait for the new Blogger. For now. The new Blogger system has no way to add series, but it does have internal tagging, and this could be used to much the same effect. So that would work, though it will be a pain to go back through all my posts and redo the tagging (though this or something like it will have to happen no matter what route I take). But it should, hopefully, be less painful than any of the other options. And, if it turns out not to be a viable solution, I can always move on to one of those other options after the fact.

So that's where I'm at with the state of the blog. Hopefully the new Blogger will come out of beta soon, and I can really get to the task of switching things over and seeing how it goes. In the meantime I'll be looking into other options as time permits. And I'll just have to live without Series for a while until I can get this all worked out.


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12:34 AM

I've had a problem with Google Blog Search in that it is no longer indexing my posts since I switched to Blogger Beta, which I'm otherwise loving. Before, my posts would show up in the GBS results almost instantly. Now, I'm left out in the cold. A few of the my first Beta posts showed up all at the same time, but no more have. Very frustrating.    

1:48 AM

Weird. My experience has been the opposite: Google Blog Search seems to work better for me since switching to Blogger Beta. It still doesn't index as far back as I'd like (like all the way), and I still get some weird results, but it's better than before I switched. Before Blogger Beta it was totally screwy and useless. Now it's tolerable again.



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