Take for example the new “Hot queries” section. It highlights the search terms currently most active on Google Blog Search. It sounds like a good idea, but ends up looking like nothing but a rip-off of Twitter’s “Trending Topics.” Google couldn’t even be bothered to match those hot queries to the topic you’re viewing. Switch to technology news, and you still see “tour de france” and English soccer star “michael owen” in the list.
The new “Latest Posts” section doesn’t fare much better. In fact, you could argue it’s worse. While you might discover something of interest in the untargeted hot queries, the chances of you finding a post of interest, among those just published, is unlikely. The section does exactly what it says on the tin–displays the latest posts from everyone. Again, some targeting would have been nice.
Thankfully, the new RSS and Atom subscriptions do change as you switch between topics. So, if you’re interested only in “Video Games” blogs, you can subscribe to updates for the hottest blog posts on that topic.
It seems to me that Google is suffering from juggling too many balls. When you focus on one thing–and do it well–you tend to deliver new features that really appeal to your target audience. When your focus is split between many different products, you end-up with half-hearted efforts like this.