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Blog Search Update

I had been planning to do a review of blog search engines since I posted about Sphere the other day. Well, now I don’t have to. Tom Raftery beat me to it. His review is brief, but thorough.

First off, let me mention that both he and I were testing subscribed searches, mostly. That’s when you go to a blog search engine and tell it look for a search term like “weasel bucket,” and sign up to receive emails or RSS feeds when that search engine finds your term. For PR, that would be a great way to keep track of what people are saying about your clients or brands.

Tom and I agree on a number of things. My conclusion is that, therefore, we must be right. While he tried to search for things important to him, I did the same. I pretty much came up with the same results, using several different search terms. Here are my thoughts:

  • Sphere is good, very good for being so new. If it continues to improve, it will be contender.
  • Technorati still reigns in this area, in my humble opinion. The most thorough results regardless of what I was looking for. I did miss a few, though, and those were usually picked up by Sphere.
  • I haven’t personally tried IceRocket, yet, but will have to add it to my collection. Tom indicates that it produces the most results, but that the results are filled with spam. Like we need any more spam, right?
  • PubSub. I had high hopes with PubSub, but it appears to be falling off the radar. Tom agrees. Ironically, I became aware of all the services PubSub had to offer during a podcast interview between Tom and Salim Ismail, [then] PubSub CEO.
  • Google Blog Search. Tom didn’t review this, either because he finds no value in it or just didn’t think of it. I’ll have to post a comment and ask him. Another person did comment on Tom’s post about GBS, but Tom hasn’t responded. GBS is what my WordPress uses to tell me when people are talking about GOPR, but it misses a lot. Way more than I find acceptable.

So, in conclusion, do what Tom suggests. Use a combination. For subscribed searches – or for any search – a combination approach is best. If you tinker with them enough, you’ll find each has its own strengths and weaknesses when you’re using a real-time search. I haven’t made time for that, but I’m sure others have and I’d be interested in their thoughts. I’ll have to keep track of my searches in the future.

New BlogoSPHERE search

For those of you who haven't heard, a new blog search engine came out rather recently. I read about it first at TechCrunch on Monday. It's called Sphere and it's worth a look. I played around with it for a little bit yesterday and today. I wanted to see what was different about it. Good user interface and it seems really quick. It appears to really focus on the most recently updated blogs, although you can choose either relevance or recency in your blog search.

I found this bit from the "about" page interesting:

Who needs Sphere?

Everybody, of course! In one of three flavors…

1 People interested in timely topics, who aren't quite sure about this whole blogging hoo-ha.

2 Readers who already use blog search engines, and are sick of disappointing results and spam. Those who secretly crave a faster, more intuitive, and feature-rich experience.

3 Publishers who might like to include some really good blog content in their websites, but only if it's really, truly good.

I would posit that anyone who wants to keep up with what consumers, lovers, and haters are saying about your organization, as well. It's hard to put that nicely…that's the PR version of it, I guess. I like how they try to play all the angles here. They mention, first, the uninitiated; the blog-leary, if you will. Then they mention the experienced; those searching for proper content. And lastly they mention the bloggers; those searching for substance in the crazy place we call the blogosphere. I like their approach.

The "About" page goes on to talk about why this search engine is better. Only time will tell, if you ask me, but I'm willing to try contrasting and comparing it to other search engines. I'm also quite thrilled to see that it allows you to subscribe to RSS feeds of your searches. There's a really nice interface that's so easy a…less-technological person could do it. It's a snap, just click on the RSS icon after you search. This will pop up a selection of aggregators, you choose your reader of choice, and you're in. It all worked very well. The real trick with any search engine is results, though, wouldn't you agree? So we'll wait and see. I've subscribed to a similar search feed in several search engines. We'll see what happens.

The "tips" page gives suggestions and tips for getting the most out of your Sphere experience – from the simple to the advanced. Quite interesting. I'd like to spend some more time noodling around with it. One thing I've learned from it, my name brings up some strange results.

To keep abreast of the latest news and goings-on with the folks at Sphere, feel free to read more about them at the Sphere Blog.

Update: This isn't really an update. I forgot to mention when I wrote this that I had already seen one referrer to this blog from a Sphere search result before I penned the post. So, people are using it to find blog info.