Sphere beta launches

sphere screenshot
Sphere has been promised as a Technorati-killer of sorts in the crowded but mostly-inefficient arena of blog search. I just got into the beta, so what follows are first impressions:

  • FAST. Whoa. Very Fast.
  • Cool – you can choose whether to search by relevance or time, and separately, you can set how far back in time to look for posts. For example, I can search for “voip”, sort by relevance, and look at posts only from the last 12 hours…or from the last month, week, day, etc.
  • adjusting those settings seems to root out some of the spam – if i’m looking only in the past hour and sorting by time, there’s splogs, but switching to relevance and/or stretching out the time solves that.
  • uhrmmmm…where are the feeds? If I can’t subscribe to feeds of Sphere searches, then why am I here? To hang out? [UPDATE: Searches now come with a dead RSS link to Subscribe – Coming Soon.]
  • Ironically, the “News Articles” results from conventional mass media sources sit off on the right, the inverted structure of Yahoo’s recently unveiled incorporation of blogs into its News search.
  • I love the little “profile” link on each result – it pops up and includes info on how often the blog is updated (just once a week? better be pretty important to get me to subscribe).

Overall – this is totally useful, providing me readable, fresh, high-quality results. I’m not going to sit here and do a comparative test of all the different blog search sites and give anyone a trophy; we’ll leave that to Scoble.

[AFTERTHOUGHT: Did I agree to any NDA when I signed up for the beta? Heh, I hope not.]
[tags]sphere, blogs, blog search[/tags]