There’s no “One way” to do search. Traditional search engines compete for space and co-exist with nisched, inspirational, visual, social and now with the latest trending topic, real-time search. As the blogosphere with user generated content keeps growing, the search space keeps expanding with it. Our personal online presence increases through social networking etc. which means we need to keep track of our own digital footsteps, preferably real-time.
Regardless of the lack of an existing business model, search remains a very attractive space, and within past three months, three Swedish players have been added to the fields of nisched, visual and real-time search.
The latest addition is Blogipedia, just a week old nisched search engine tool indexing Swedish blogs. It includes a crowdsourcing functionality to determine whether the content is considered a fact or a opinion, positive or negative. As the name states, the idea is simply to become a wikipedia of all the blog contents. The man behind the service is Ted Valentin, founder of several search engine services.
Blogipedia indexes only content that meets search criteria “Something is“, e.g. ArcticStartup is a tech blog, That would then be categorized as a fact. It’s not a real-time search, thus taking couple of days before new data’s being indexed. The only microblog source included for time being is Swedish Bloggy. Anyone can search the content but registering is needed to be able to categorize. There’s also a widget available, helping to keep track of the state of one’s online presence.
The service has already resulted in interesting live testing by bloggers to see how easy it is to change an opinion with the help of positive/negative blog posts generated to match the search criteria. One can’t edit any information directly in the service and it’s based on transparency, linking directly to the original source, as well as showing who has categorized what, how, and when.
I think it’s a noble cause wanting to categorize the content of the crowds with the help of the crowd itself. Without the crowdsourcing part this reminds me of a reverse real-time search ContexVoice’s new api for tracking conversations, downside being the same – nobody wants to be associated with the negative opinions, e.g. “looking fat”. Negative facts are easier to have more influence over.
With Twingly Channels, aka Project Shinobi, that was presented at the recent Sweden Social Web Camp, Martin and his team are getting into the tough race on the real-time search space, together with e.g. WordPress RSS Cloud. Twingly’s usp being the social filtering on top the feeds and real-time search, they aim to bring back the threaded conversations into microblogging with the Twingly Channels. Follow topics instead of individuals. And with an existing business model offering premium features for the channels. I still have to wait a couple of weeks until I can reveal how I feel about the Twingly Channels, but if you’ve ever been a fan of Jaiku and Friendfeed like me, you should definitely stay tuned.
Spezify, an inspirational visual search tool presents search results from blogs, videos, microblogs and images as a canvas you scroll over on the screen. The company launched to public for three months ago and has since it’s initial buzz had a solid 35K monthly unique visitors. It’s a Flash based service, hence not yet working on all the smartphones. Even if it’s about inspiration and experiencing mainly image and video content, I still think search should exist on mobile devices, especially when the prediction gives hardly two more years until smartphones take over the number of pc’s sold. To me, search still is about effeciency and accuracy, at least if it’s a business, so I’m willing to agree with Jason Calacanis from This Week in Startups on this one. Spezify is not meant to be practical, but fun, trying to move things forward. Visual search is hard to execute and has so far been proven to work best as a part of online shopping.
Even if search is hard to do right, just ask Searchme, leading visual search, or Wikia Search, both Blogipedia, Twingly and Spezify unarguably prove that there still is a lot of both space and innovation left to be done.