Global Voices co-founder Ethan Zuckerman and tech guru Boris Anthony have put together a new “Global Voices Web” search using the new Google Co-op platform which enables you to create your own search engine. Check it out – it's in the yellow search bar near the top of the page right under the “tag cloud.”
In addition to being able to search all of Global Voices or all of Google, now you can also search “the Global Voices Web.” Right now, that includes about 4,800 blogs that our Regional Editors follow each day, and from which they select their “Daily Links”. In other words, when you use this search function, you are searching all the blogs that we regularly link to or which our editors have found worth following.
GV doesn't cover North America and Western Europe because we believe the views of people from those parts of the world get disproportionately more attention on the world wide web and in the global media than people from all other regions. GV is meant to be a small effort towards counter-balancing that imbalance. Thus the search includes few blogs from N.America or W.Europe except for blogs by members of various diasporas currently living in the West. The point is to have a search that covers the same footprint of citizen media that GV covers.
This new “Global Voices Web” search was constructed by Ethan and Boris using Google's Co-op search, with a bit of help from some people at Google who responded to their requests for changes. When Ethan and Boris started putting it together, Ethan blogged about the lack of results on some terms in a post titled “What Google Coop Search Doesn't Do Well.” The folks at Google eventually read his post and fixed the problem. Google engineer Vrishali Wagle wrote about the fix on the Google Custom Search blog and says he encourages people to give more feedback. Ethan is now much happier.
Note that our search is still very very “beta.” Because it was constructed by importing the feeds from editors’ aggregators, we had to weed out a bunch of non-blog and off-topic feeds (news sites, U.S. tech blogs, and things like that). If you try it out please let us know if there are any non-blog or off-topic sites we've failed to weed out or if there appear to be glaring omissions. We're sure it is far from perfect at this stage which is why we need as many people as possible to test it out and let us know what's wrong.
As Ethan explains in his blog post about this new search function: “a future version will include all the sites we link to on GV, which should expand the collection quite a bit. And an even further off version will integrate with the giant aggregator we’ll be offering on the site next year, which will let you look at new posts from all the countries we cover, as well as offering suggestions for feeds we should be watching – the blogs covered by that aggregator will be the same blogs tracked by the search engine.”
Please help us make it better. We are already discovering things we want to improve and would like to know your requests and concerns.