Home Bloglines’ Search-based Makeover – In The Big League Now

Bloglines’ Search-based Makeover – In The Big League Now

A couple of weeks ago Microsoft’s new web-based RSS
Aggregator prototype
was discovered. I wrote then (also in my weekly wrap-up) that
even though technically the prototype wasn’t that special, it did reveal Microsoft’s
business strategy for RSS. Which is that Microsoft intends to integrate RSS Aggregation
with its MSN Search product.

To summarise my view, I think search is going to be the platform from which Microsoft
will challenge its main rivals in the RSS space. And one of those rivals will be
Bloglines/Ask Jeeves. More on that in a momemt…

In an email exchange with someone today I speculated that start.com will give
Microsoft an advantage over its traditional rivals Google and Yahoo – at least until
Google reveals what it’s going to do with its Blogger technology. Or whatever else they
are cooking up with Google
News and similar customization products. Yahoo is also enhancing its My Yahoo platform
by making RSS a key component.

Bloglines/Ask Jeeves Steps Up To The Plate

The one player that hasn’t been talked about much yet, in this context, is
Bloglines/Ask Jeeves. But they are definitely positioning themselves to join in the RSS
aggregation/search integration game. Take a look at the new Bloglines homepage – notice anything
different? Well it appears that search now gets top billing on the page, ahead of
blog reading and subscription. The search box is at the centre-top of the page, the
search component of the circular graphic is at the top of the circle, and most of all the
introductory statement mentions search first:

“Bloglines is the most comprehensive, integrated service for searching, subscribing,
publishing and sharing news feeds, blogs, and rich Web content. It’s free and

The interesting thing is they don’t even mention the word “read” in that paragraph. I
also think the word “integrated” is a key…

Now take a look at the Bloglines
homepage from a year ago
, c/o the wonderful archive.org. It’s from January 2004 and
this was the introductory paragraph back then:

“Bloglines is a free service that makes it easy to keep up with your favorite blogs
and newsfeeds. With Bloglines, you can subscribe to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs,
and Bloglines will monitor updates to those sites. You can read the latest entries easily
within Bloglines.”

Notice that the word “search” didn’t even rate a mention one year ago. In 2003/04
Bloglines was a service to “keep up with” blogs. Subscription and blog-reading was the
focus, not search.

Aggregation/Search Integration – The Moneyball in ’05

None of this is a great surprise. Ask Jeeves is a search company after all and they
bought Bloglines in order to use it. It’s natural that Bloglines is being influenced by
the coach yelling in the dugouts.

But I think it’s more than just Bloglines utilising Jeeves’ search strength in its
product. It’s clear that Bloglines/Ask Jeeves is doing this in order to position itself
to take on The Big 3 of Microsoft, Google and Yahoo. Because RSS Aggregation + Search is
going to be a winning strategy when competing in the big leagues.

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