Blog Search Engine Sphere Launches
Hyped-up blog search engine Sphere launched a number of minutes ago, and already there is some discussion on it.
I’ll point to Jason Schramm, who has more experience with using the site, but I will give my first impressions.
Blog search is a tough one, since no one seems to know what people are looking for when they use it. If I search for “Google”, so I want the latest news on Google? The best blogs on Google? The most linked articles on Google? Hopefully, Sphere has some unique ideas on managing differing expectations, something we’ll learn as we get more experience using it.
I do like the way they have different pages with different ways of looking at a query. They’ve got:
- Standard search, ordered by relevance over a recent period of time or by date
- Major blogs on the topic
- Related items on the query, like mainstream media news, photos, books and podcasts
The coolest thing has to be the custom range slider. When viewing results by relevance, you can choose a date range (so they are relevant, but not ancient), and you can choose predetermined ranges, or use a slider to make your own on the fly. This is very reminiscint of Google Finances stock chart/news slider.
There’s also a bookmarklet that will take you to a search for items related to whatever you are reading and a TypePad widget. All in all, it looks like they’ve got their stuff together, and I hope the obvious hard work pays off.
As an aside, here’s a quote from Jason:
It’s a shame that people posted about the launch before the small team behind Sphere could be awake to solve any problems that may occur. It was more of a common courtesy thing, which no longer matters since the cat is out of the bag and doesn’t want to go back in.
From what I’ve heard, Sphere emailed their beta testers and asked them not to post on this till 7 am in the morning, hours from now. Considering Michael Arrington and Om Malik posted on this first near-simultaneously (and TechCrunch with a well-prepared in-depth review), I have to wonder if Mike A. and Om just got the news a tad earlier from tipsters and posted it, or if Sphere sent out the email to testers, knowing full well that it would be on TechCrunch hours earlier. Ah, the story behind the story; always equally fascinating.
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