Google has launched a new blog searching tool, Blogsearch. It offers the chance to search for tech, business, gaming, science, entertainment, TV and movies, amongst other subjects, as well as by keyword. There seems to be a wide range of blogs indexed, rather than just the A list bloggers, so you get a reasonably broad view of what is being said across the blogosphere on a particular subject or news item.
If you want to track what is happening in your niche, with your products, or what consumers think of your competitors and you, this is definitely a place to stop in regularly. It should be tied in with monitoring delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon, Twitter, Friendfeed etc if you wish to stay abreast of events and news.
Blogs allow you to get a good handle on consumer issues, trends, new products in your niche, views and opinions, as well as finding information in blog circles that may lead you to new opportunities, new markets, and new customers.