Why Doesn't Google Sell This Service?

With Google headed off in nearly every direction at once in their product development, I wonder why they don't offer a service to corporations (and even individuals, like politicians) that seems much closer to their core business.  The service I have in mind is the Internet version of the old clipping service (where some PR folks would watch the papers and keep a file of articles about you or your company, bitterly clipped out of the papers).

Let's say I am Dell, and I would like to see what people are saying about be.  Well, if I search for "Dell,"  the first 30 or 40 hits are probably the same -- retailers and such.  What I really want is anything new that popped up in the search today vs. the search yesterday, and which might be buried hundreds of items down in the list.  This is something that a third party could certainly do, caching the search each day, but it would be a layup for Google.  I'd think this service would be pretty valuable, certainly saving money over having employees manually troll blogs and comment boards.  I can think of 10 ways right now this base service could be improved over time with more value-added services hung on the basic structure.  I could sell it to retailers as a way to uncover pirates or illegal channel activity.  You could even charge premium pricing for fast spidering, where the Google spiders go looking in certain places the client cares about more often.

If I have reinvented the wheel here, and someone is already doing this, let me know in the comments.


  1. Keith Casey:

    If you do a search in their News area, you'll end up seeing an RSS link on the left hand side. If you drop this RSS feed into your feed reader, you'll be in good shape. I currently do the same for a number of keywords, products, etc.

  2. eddie:

    Well, both Google News and Google Blog Search do essentially that. You can sort the results by date if you want to see everything that's new in the past day (or week or whatever), but even the default "sort by relevance" will weigh the recent stuff more heavily and put it first. The coverage only extends to news sources and blogs, of course, but that's probably where the clippings you care about are going to show up.

    Then there's Google Alerts (read the faq). Google Alerts will email you any time something new pops up in the search results for whatever search terms you specify. That includes general web searches, not just news and blogs. But they only look at changes in the top twenty results (for web pages; they also watch for changes in the top ten news articles, top ten blog entries, and top fifty newsgroup posts). I'm sure they could add a feature to let you specify how deep in the results you want to monitor, but they don't have that feature at the moment.

    That's pretty close to what you're talking about, I think, and if I ran a company and was concerned about what people were saying about me I'd definitely use Google Alerts. I'd also periodically do a deep search to look for interesting stuff that didn't show up in the top twenty hits.

    Google already does fast respidering on things that change frequently.

    And, of course, Google gives this service away for free thanks to their advertisement supported revenue model.

  3. Brian:

    I'd think this service would be pretty valuable, certainly saving money over having employees manually troll blogs and comment boards.

    I do that on behalf of my 'employer wo does not pay a living wage (yet)', LiftPort. I might have some perspective here


    At some point you're going to want to do something with the clippings - act on them, comment on them, forward the complaint somewhere. Wait more than (guess) 36 hours and with most blogs the post is off the main page. Commenting at that point is going to be good for the blogger but no one else is going to see it. All a clipping service could do is abstract a layer between the people who need to act and the people they need to interact with.


    But it's somewhat labor intensive. Trolling the web for our company name and some related topics takes about 90 minutes a day, if there are replies to be made. If nothing is happening, only 20 minutes. But LiftPort isn't a big deal (yet). Were we to grow and should we want to keep that effort up I can see it occupying a good chunk of a work day.

    So we'll break it down. Designate a SME for a series of category, split the feeds based on smart filters to the SME .. and I'm talking through my hat here - and that might do it.

    But if you want to do it .. and I think it's pretty important .. well you gotta do what you gotta do.

  4. Gavin:

    There are companies that do this for profit. The manual review and reporting part. A simple list of Google results still has to be reviewed by a human.
    One of the companies is the weirdly named cymfony d-o-t com. I hope this mention, doesn't violate the rules for your comments. I don't have any financial interest in the company, but I know someone who works there.
    PS. Loved your book.

  5. Earl:

    Try icerocket.com . It does just about what you want. Interestingly, one of their investors is Mark Cuban.