MSN is now offering blogging space through its new MSN Spaces service, making it the third major portal to jump into this area. The first? Google, of course.
Google a portal? Sure, a stealth portal. It's got all the traditional portal features of email, search and free home pages -- or at least the successor to personal home pages, blogs. You just don't see them all displayed in a traditional portal format.
My Google Buys Blogging Company - But Why? article from Feb. 2003 looks at the issue of blogs as a portal feature and Google heading down that path. One of the predictions in it, which was obvious to many, was that once Google knocked over the blog domino, other portals would follow.
Yahoo still has the GeoCities personal home pages service (valued at $3.6 billion when acquired in 1999 -- in contrast, Google likely paid only a few million for Blogger). But I'm sure we'll eventually see Yahoo gain a blogging system as well.
All this is great for those seeking to build blogs, though it has nothing to do with search. What none of the majors yet offer is an actual blog search service.
Yahoo is the closest now, making it at least possible to search to find blog feeds but not through actual blog entries. MSN has promised an actual blog search engine to come out later this year. Google's also said last year that a blog search would come, though it gave no timeline about when. Aside from the majors, we list a number of other blog search engines here.
For more details of the new MSN Spaces service, see this ClickZ article: MSN Enters Blogging Fray with "Spaces". And as an aside, Microsoft blogvangelist Robert Scoble says he's sticking with the Radio UserLand service and provides a wrap-up of reaction to the new Microsoft entry.