This development comes just a day after I wrote about Yahoo!'s beta test of a tool that allows Web surfers to search for podcast content. I commented then that podcasting is a hot content commodity on the Web right now, much like blogs.
Yahoo!'s move certainly adds legitimacy to blogs as important content, although many would argue that even the best-thought-out blog will never replace the expertise of traditional journalism. On the other hand, news organizations have felt pressure from this new type of content, as seen in their recent attempts to include blogs on their Web sites or even use blogs for their own network coverage.
"Yahoo! Search Introduces 'Grassroots Journalism' to News Search" is the headline of Yahoo!'s press announcement, which goes out of its way to forward the concept of blogs as cutting-edge and legitimate. "The move to augment professional journalism with grassroots journalism signals Yahoo!'s commitment to fusing mainstream content with user-generated content to give consumers a more complete search experience," the press announcement reads.
Beyond that, though, the move -- much like Yahoo!'s podcasting initiative -- merely proves that sometimes a company has to give the public what it wants. Over the past year or so, after all, it's been clear that blogs have caught on with many Web junkies. (I covered the budding phenomenon in this piece from the beginning of the year.)
The increasing importance of blogs is also made obvious by the big Internet companies' recent initiatives and acquisitions. Google
The world of blogs -- fired up by the hordes of people who wish to make their voices known -- is a huge world indeed. Moves like these fit well with Yahoo!'s traditional strength in content in portals. (Be on the lookout for a related story from Tim Beyers about Google's new RSS reader, which he contends does bring Google closer to the portal concept.) Of course, Google already has a feature through which people can search blogs.
Giving users the means to access new types of content like blogs and podcasting is too important for Yahoo! to miss. When it comes to search, attracting -- and keeping -- Web surfers by giving them access to the information they're looking for is crucial for the company's continued success.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.