Here's a quick hit for New Year's Eve. Check out URLFan (http://urlfan.com/), a blog search/ranking engine that parses RSS feeds to detirmine the popularity of a website/blog. While not comprehensive, it does a good job at discovering hot trends in the blogsphere ... check out the widget page (http://urlfan.com/site/widget/810.html) for a list of nifty plugins for your website or blog (see below for an example).
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Overall, this is a useful resource; I can see it having functionality for media montitoring, competitor intelligence and reputation monitoring. I'm still wondering how long Google will wait before adding some of these features to their blog search platform ... or at least open up the API to developers (won't be happening soon in my opinion).
Happy New Year!