A plugin to move to Feedburner

Feedburner is splendid, despite the intermittent session timeouts on its website. Yet I was bit apprehensive about it, the fear of handing over “the control” to them. However, after moving this blog from JRoller to my own hosting I regretted this hesitation. This change shouldn’t have made any difference to this blog’s feed subscribers.

When I switched to WordPress, I learnt that it provides many flavours of feed including RSS, TDF and Atom. It is awesome but confusing, because you never get to know, exactly how many people are actually reading your blog through newsreaders.

Recently, it occurred to me that somebody must have thought about it before and I just Googled and quite easily stumbled upon this amazing plugin from OrderedList. It’s called the “Feedburner Plugin” and it simply helps you divert all your WordPress feed subscribers to your Feedburner feed. Yes, it really routes all of them, whether they use your blog’s Atom or RSS feed; even the comment feeds could be routed this way. The best part of all this, your readers do not even get to know about this. Steve, you rock!

FeedBurnerFor the blog owner it is a myriad of benefits. Not only do you get to keep track of your readers, proudly flash the count (even if it’s peanuts) and analyze the feed usage, you get benefit of all the Feedburner featurettes, like the “Feed Via Email” feature that probably ends the need for separate service like FeedBlitz. Feedburner now has an interesting lineup of features under one roof, there are BuzzBoost & Headline Animator that lest you display latest blog headlines on any other site, Pinging service, feed analysis and so on. You may password protect your feed and can even make money from it. There are host of others, including “paid” ones like SmartCast for podcasters. Fabulous!

Look for the Feed Icon in the newly added Subscribe section below, that’s the fruit of this labour apart from this post.

Your home-made Google search apparatus

Google coop has been their platform to solicit public participation in refining the Google search results. The latest addition to the stable is the Customized Search Engine apparatus. It is on the lines of Rollyo and ScoopGo but with Google results, the search is surely guaranteed to be powerful and exclusive.

I could now stop myself from playing a bit with it and I created “Chittha Khoji” (Hindi for Hindi blog explorer) that would search the Hindi blog aggregator Narad and Chittha Charcha a Hindi blog review site that I am part of. I think the collaboration theme is quite evident in the effort and anyone can solicit volunteer contribution to their engines, Google marker is there to quickly add sites. The Site look and feel is customizable though I noticed that it does not accepts Unicode yet.

And there is much more. You can create the complete engine using XML and can even AJAXify it using their API. Refinements allow you to allow labels to filter the search results; again, Unicode characters weren’t being supported yet. So English is what would work now, I hope other languages would be supported soon.

Here is a glimpse of search results from “Chittha Khoji” 🙂

Customized Hindi Blog Search Engine

Desi search engines on the prowl

It is heartening to see the Indian language usage on the net picking up. It may be due this reason or the Web2.0 startups mushrooming around but there sure has been a sudden surge in the area of vernacular search engines showing around. Whether these Web2.0 offshoots hold any ground is being debated upon but I think its sunny days for people like me who wish Indic content usage on the net reached the glory of the firang bhasha.

Khoj was probably the pioneer but with Indic blogs giving Unicode a good push Google did pretty well in digging out vernacular content. Recently there has been buzz around companies like Raftaar, Guruji and now Bhramar (interesting name). When we did a Story on Webaroo for Nirantar, we certainly thought that an offline search was revolutionary but a solution whose hasn’t yet come in India; with the conventional ones, I do not see what is really different, though all claim to have a USP of their own and none claims to be taking on the big G.

Raftaar seems pretty elementary with ability to input Hindi characters, doesn’t work on Firefox though. Bhramar has the edge that it also launched a Kannada search. Both have facility for a categorized search. The results page has scope for improvement and Guruji seems to be better off here.

I think the Web2 element of User content is already creeping in with these sites relying a lot on Blog content. Engines such as Guruji are focusing on local content search as well and which may server as their revenue source. Early days, but promising enough for Indian language users. We will surely see many search clones propping up with a keypad to input Indic characters, I don’t remember but I saw one such site simply show the Google Blog search results in a frame page. Only time will tell what separates them from the ordinary.