On the Google News Blog today: you can now search by author. Actually, I think you could always search by author from their advanced search page, but now the links are available directly from the search results, facilitating exploration.
It’s a nice enhancement, though there are still some kinks to work out. For example when I did a Google News search for tim burton’s alice in wonderland, the first two hits have no author link, and the third article has an author link for Kofi Outlaw that leads to a dead end, i.e., no results found (you can find his articles here).
Interestingly, this is a case where Bing, even though it doesn’t offer author search, does do a lot better on related searches. I have to give them the win on this one, at least as far as supporting exploration goes. Unfortunately, their crawler could use a bit more muscle–they don’t even find the Kofi Outlaw article, and they return only 37 results compared to over 300 from Google. Yes, size isn’t everything, and Google’s returning more results is undermined by their not offering as much ability to sift through them. But, conversely, Bing’s exploratory search capabilities are undermined by their having far less content to explore. Is it that hard to do both?