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A Cool Blog Discovery Tool

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There's a lot of great content out there on those millions of blogs, but finding the good ones related to your own interests can be a challenge. A set of tools from Blogstreet can help.

Finding good blog content can be a challenge. One way is to explore the "blogrolling" links that many bloggers create to other blogs. But you're never really sure if someone has linked to another blog because they like the blog, or out of obligation or some other reason.

Another approach is to use one a blog search engines, such as Daypop, Bloglines, Technorati, Feedster and many others (see Peter Scott's excellent Weblogs Compendium for links).

While these blog search engines all have useful features, they tend to focus on features like keyword search, popularity and other measures that determine the importance or prominence of a blog. They work well for finding individual blog postings on a particular topic, but have a harder time pinpointing a particular author that writes regularly on topics of interest to you.

By contrast, Blogstreet's discovery tools take a different approach, tapping into the linkage patterns in the blogosphere to help you locate blogs that are similar to ones you currently read.

Say, for example, you're a fan of Gary Price's Resource Shelf blog. By entering the blog's URL into Blogstreet's Profile form, and you'll get a bunch of information about the blog, including the blog's "neighborhood."

A blog neighborhood is a list of similar blogs to the one that you entered. You can explore the neighborhood by clicking on the links to the blog, which loads the blog's page in your web browser. If you like it, there are also RSS buttons available to quickly add the blog to your favorite blog reader/aggregator (if you don't know what that is, try Bloglines as a simple but powerful way to get started).

There's also a "visual neighborhood" tool that uses the TouchGraph visual browser that I've written about before to display the linkage patterns between blogs, opening up an entirely different way to find related blogs.

There's also a form to discover "Googlatives," or blogs that Google thinks are similar to the one you're interested in. You'll need a Google API key to use this, but don't worry—getting an API key from Google is free, painless, and once you have it you need only cut and paste it to use it.

Like the other blog search services I mentioned above, Blogstreet also has a search engine as well as a categorized directory on the same page. These tools work well, but I prefer the neighborhood tools for finding related blogs.

Blogstreet also has a set of free tools that can help you publish and enhance RSS feeds if you have your own blog or web site. You can also use the tools to generate feeds for someone else's blog, if they don't provide one.

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