The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Comparing the new blog searches

Quite a few new blog search tools have popped up lately. The most hyped, Sphere, is well-funded and has some very smart folks behind it. Sphere’s crawler(s?) have been walloping this blog, accounting for over 10% of my traffic some days.

Compared to niche plays like gnoos (the new Aussie blog search who are gunning for quality not quantity), Sphere is supposed to be the best of the new engines at returning relevant results.

And relevant results is what you get … except that they’re often really old. Consider Timor-Leste, the focus of my posts before the recent lull. As the situation there has progressed, and more bloggers have written stuff, Sphere’s results have gotten better — they recently added a very helpful “show results from last day” option. But they still seem to lack the sense of instancy needed to track a current event.

To wit: compare the results for “east timor” on Sphere,’s new blog search, Bloglines, and gnoos.

Now compare Technorati with ‘a little authority’. Sure it throws thousands of useless results at you, but at least the good results are in there … somewhere …

(On the matter of Timor-Leste itself: about two weeks ago, I was wondering why the Timorese leadership asked for foreign troops. Now it’s become apparent that what they really wanted were police, to deal with kids who are happy to give the Australian media something sensational to report. Also, formal criticism is slowly emerging about nation-building — or lack thereof — in the country.)

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