Sphere: A New Blog Search
There’s a new blog search in town and it’s called Sphere. It looks interesting but if I hear correctly it sounds like another elitist knockoff of the A-list mentality to drown out the little guy. I hope I’m wrong:
Sphere takes a new approach to blog search, looking at three critical variables to understand both individual blog posts and the nature of the blog they appear on. As with web search, Sphere attempts to understand link structures—who’s linking to whom, and what are the quality of the links. Crucial to this analysis is an attempt to understand who’s starting or leading discussions in contrast to those bloggers who are simply commenting on existing conversations.
Sphere also looks at meta data—things like posting frequency, lengths of postings, and other non-keyword related data.
And finally, Sphere’s algorithm content does some heavy lifting with semantic analysis of blog postings. “It’s the hard part, and most important piece of the secret sauce,” said Sphere co-founder Steve Nieker. Sphere doesn’t use tags in its ranking of blog posts, even if they exist.
Like most blog search services, Sphere returns results ranked either by relevance or time. But in addition to providing links to blog postings that contain your keywords, Sphere attempts to locate the most authoritative voices in the blogosphere writing about a specific topic.
To help in this quest, results include both title and abstract from blog posts, but also include a link to a “profile” of the blog, which offers additional information including stats like average posts per week, average length of posts, three recent inbound and outbound links, and so on. This can help you get an immediate sense of how active the bloggers is on his particular topic, and how often his or her posts are cited in the blogosphere.
Results can be sorted by date or relevance, with posts from the last week being shown by default. A drop-down menu allows you to see posts from the last four months, or limited to the last day, 12 hours or hour. You can also select a custom range, which opens up a histogram that plots activity of your search terms in the blogosphere, with sliders that allow you to limit posts to any period over the past four months.
Sphere’s approach to blog search is unlike any other I’ve yet seen. It’s a clean, easy-to-use service that usually offers good results uncluttered by the blogorrhea that’s so often surfaced in other blog search engines.
Interesting term “blogorrhea“. Heck, if you only want to read the A-listers why not just subscribe to their newsfeeds? But you do yourself a diservice because you are only filtering a very small window of the blogosphere.
Sphere is still in beta but should be ready to roll in a few days. You can read more about it at Search Engine
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