Alex Chitu reports that Google has soft launched a forum search engine as part of an expanded search offering in its Google Groups product. Searches on the site are now no longer confined to just Google hosted groups and Usenet discussions, but include forum topics from across the web.
The technology certainly isn’t perfect, though, as we noticed some pages from blogs and other non-forum sources mixed in with the results. It’s not clear how Google is determining whether a site is a forum, but clearly their method has some kinks to work out.
Chitu points out the Google is using the same enhanced search snippets for the Groups forum search that it added to regular search results last month. For any page that is positively identifies as a forum thread, it includes the numbers of posts, the number of different authors, and the date of the last post. That’s helpful for searchers to determine the how recent the information is and the likelihood of whether a question posted to a forum might have the searched for response.
In other Google forum-related news, the company is migrating its own help forums away from Groups and to a Yahoo Answers-like Q&A service that is apparently code named “Confusions.” The Google Talk, Chrome, and AdSense help forums have already made the switch. Chitu says there is a possibility that Google will release the code for the platform once all of its help forums are migrated over to the new system.
Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.