The fine folks at Vallywag blogged this morning about the official launch (beta?) of blog search engine Sphere. First off I'll disclose that I've got my own blog search engine Blog Buzz Machine, so I usually go into checking out other blog search engines with an air of snottiness, even though they most likely have more money and time to throw at their projects than I do.
Hitting the start page of Sphere is just like visiting every other Web 2.0 startup, cute fonts and rounded corners. I enter my favorite search term "monkey" into the interface and get rewarded with these results. My first gripe is the results are ordered by default by relavence and not date. I don't know what they define as "relavent" to the term "monkey", of course it's pretty early in the system so as those results flesh out it should get better. Another gripe is that there's already a splog (near the bottom of their results page) in their system, pretty early for that! I'm controlling the entry of splogs by being very picky with sites who get indexed by my system. I like the profile box pop-up giving you details of the particular blog, I just don't like the blue, it looks kind of funky to me.
I have no idea what the "Featured Blogs" section is, for "monkey" I get nothing but for "ajax" I get this. Are these sponsors? Sites that have been hand picked by the Sphere folks? Whats going on here?
The "Related Media" button I'm guessing, exposes part of the way Sphere's going to make money, from selling books through Amazon. Sadly with the exception of the "About", "Tips", etc links on the footer (which are mostly about the company or pushing the "Sphere bookmarklet") that's about it for the website. I won't lie to you, it's nice looking (nicer than my project the bastards!) and pretty quick, but I'm hoping later on they do some more exciting stuff that what their doing. Because as I've found out, there are a ton of search engines out there, the ones that survive are the ones doing stuff more exciting than most.