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Sphere Makes Beta Test Available

David Utter
Expert Author
Published: 2005-10-31

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The blog search engine from the people responsible for Oddpost handed out some keys to a limited beta test.

It took the nice people at Sphere a couple of tries to get the logon credentials out to those who signed up to kick the tires of the beta version. A problem with account security was sorted out quickly and new logins arrived over the weekend.

Sphere's chance at superstardom rests within their algorithm. Tony Conrad, Martin Remy, and Steve Nieker, who sold Oddpost to Yahoo in July 2004, want to nail timely, relevant, and authoritative blog posts with their results, the site said.

Like any search engine, everything starts with the query box. From there, the results page presents information sorted by relevance, listing posts made over the past week. Results can be reordered by date, and display only English blogs or those in any language.

Users can filter the results by time, from posts made in the last day through those four or more months old.

Sphere makes some other tools available, which appear on the search result pages. Each results has an accompanying Profile link. Click that, and an Ajax box pops up with the name and URL of the blog, along with some other information. Here's the profile that accompanies Dave Taylor's blog entry on Sphere about the Forbes "Attack of the Blogs" article:

The Intuitive Life Business Blog
http://www.intuitive.com/blog/

avg. posts/week: 4avg. words/post: 881avg. links/post: 29
Recent Links To Other Blogs:
instapundit.com
InsideGoogle
boing boing: a directory of wonderful things
daily pundit
Vaspers the Grate

Some searches return a list of related news articles, on the right side of the page. Searching for ‘iPod Nano' brought along entries for three news stories, two from Cnet and one from the New York Times, in the sidebar.

Related blogs may appear in a block above a related news articles block; up to three related blog titles will be displayed there, and clicking a ‘more related blogs' link expands the box dynamically to show additional ones.

The site does seem to be keeping abreast of happenings in the blogosphere. During my time navigating back and forth between a Sphere results page for the Forbes story and Dave Taylor's post, Sphere picked up a new blog entry for the results.

A public release date for the beta has not yet been made available on the Sphere site. It will be worth checking out when they do open it to more traffic.

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About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

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