This is the core business, of course. Indexing blogs, tags, and letting people find them. For this, they seem to do a decent job, indexing things within the hour, and are probably constantly backfilling websites for more data. As a brief search confirms that they’ve hit my site and indexed some of it, a trip to the server logs shows that there’s a new spider identifying itself as “Sphere Scout&v4.0 (beta) – scout at sphere dot com” with ip address 220.127.116.11, the same as sphere.com resolves to.
There are the usual popular queries options on their homepage, showing top queries per hour and per week:
They also let you get an RSS feed for a given search term, say Chernobyl. You can adjust the language parameters, the sort type, and buffer by dates.
Custom Date Ranges
The feature that Sphere is currently hyping is the ability to quickly choose a custom date range off a histogram. This is their only unique feature so far. For example, this query for mohammed cartoons gives us the following slider:
This is not compelling for several reasons. First, it’s hard to get to. I have to select the “custom date range” option from a dropdown, wait for their slow page to reload, and then finally I have the custom date range slider. Second, it’s unclear what dates I’m selecting, as there is little to no captioning. Finally, on their partner page, they admit they were donated most of the graphics code for this component:
Adaptive Path/Measure Map – nothing but love for the lovely people at Adaptive Path. They designed our site, saved us from ourselves and then gave us the source code for our histogram feature – talk about a culture of help!
So the design of the site and their interface is all given to them by Adaptive Path. And, while it provides a solid base on which to grow new features and ideas, right now there’s nothing innovative or useful here.
Sphere also has blog profiles; here’s mine. They’re rather sparse right now. For example, I just get to see my last three posts (one of which is duplicated strangely), that I’ve made 8 posts in the last 7 days, 14 posts/week (average), that 788 blogs link to this blog, and that I use 1244 words/post (average). These are things that I already know. If you want to see a good profile system, take a look at my Kinja Card.
Visit Sphere every few months and see if it gets better. Right now I’d stick with Technorati.
|This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2006 at 1:50 pm and is tagged with hearst publishing, trident capital, mohammed cartoons, server logs, range option, sort type, decent job, histogram, core business, slider, sphere, search term, scout, source code, queries, parameters, beta, interface, search engine, nothing but love. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback.|