A rumor that's been floating around the web lately is that Google will offer RSS feeds for new results in basic web search. Today Search Engine Land confirmed that Google will "soon" offer this functionality. Why is this big news? Because there's no better way to keep track of new mentions of a company, person or concept online than through RSS.

As Search Engine Land's Matt McGee points out in his post, Google is the only major web search engine to not offer feeds for basic web search, as they do in blog search and news. We'd previously recommended Live.com for web search feeds, but who really cares about Live.com search results? They're terrible. Google feeds are good news.

Google says that the new feeds will be part of the Google Alerts product, which currently delivers e-mail alerts for new search results in web, blog and other result types. Google Alerts are widely used but are, we'd argue, like training wheels for people not yet comfortable with RSS feeds. There's nothing wrong with that, but many of us want our feeds.

Though blogs and news sites are of growing importance, there's still nothing quite like good old Web Search for getting a broad picture of who is linking where and what kind of online mentions are occurring. Google says it cannot confirm when the web search feeds will be available.

We hope that Google web search feeds will include "site:" searches for new mentions of keywords inside particular domains (Live and Yahoo do), and that they will deliver nice clean direct URLs - which Live.com feeds do but Yahoo search feeds do not.

There's still no alerts or feeds available for Google Image Search, probably because the index is so woefully behind the web at large.