Yahoo! briefly launches … Feedsterati?

Steve Rubel and Niall Kennedy are reporting on a Yahoo RSS search service which was briefly public this morning. Seems to combine feed search (not just blogs, apparently, but other feed content, too, like Feedster) and several ranking options (date, relevance, and popularity). I’m curious about the popularity ranking, but I’d guess the initial version will resemble a Technorati-like tally of incoming-links.

Greg Linden wonders whether the small blog/feed search engines will survive the entry of the giants into the field:

… it is good for a startup to see the entry of a big company into its area since it attracts attention and legitimizes the field … but competing directly against these giants is scary if you have no differentiator.

While the small players have driven innovation and broad acceptance of concepts like link popularity and tagging, they continue to struggle with scalability. Also, the most compelling products to come out of the blog search startups, while they’ve been exciting and even revolutionary from a user’s point of view, have not been technologically deep in the sense of difficult to duplicate by the search giants. There have been exceptions, of course, but no really deep technology is in evidence among those services that have made the biggest splashes (technorati, bloglines, flickr, del.icio.us).

So, when a search giant comes in with equal-or-better features, scalability, and a huge engineering team that can relatively quickly merge ideas emerging from the programming part of the blogosphere into the vast search toolkit that the giants already have, that might just cast a bit of a cloud over the little guys.

Having said that, I believe there will continue to be a place for the little guys in the blog search ecosystem. They’re the real innovators and they have their ears to the ground. And even at the break-neck speed at which Yahoo and Google have been rolling out features lately, an army of little guys can still cover a lot more ground than the two giants in the search for the next cool thing that will make users’ lives (even) better.

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