Thursday, July 14, 2005

Technorati: A New Public Utility to follow the Global Conversation

Wired News: Technorati: A New Public Utility: "'"You really felt as if you were there," Powell said of the blog posts and Flickr photos he surveyed, "as opposed to watching CNN or reading, which are fine for the facts but stale and bit removed."

Powell was far from the only one who turned to the blogosphere for perspectives on the London terror attacks. David Sifry, founder of Technorati, a real-time search engine for blog content, reports that traffic to the site in the hours after the attacks was so heavy that its servers had trouble handling the load, causing performance problems.

The number of posts on blogs tracked by Technorati increased 30 percent, from about 850,000 a day in July to 1.2 million on the day of the attacks. Nine of the 10 most popular search requests involved the unfolding tragedy in London.

If you think about it, Technorati has become a public utility on a global scale.

While Google didn't invent the internet, it made it easier to navigate by organizing billions of web pages. Today there are about 12 million blogs, with 10 new ones created every second. Since March, the number of posts has increased 40 percent a month, from about 350,000 a day to 850,000 a day.

At its essence, Technorati may be a search engine, but its approach is vastly different. Google, for instance, views the web as the world's largest reference library, where information is static. Instead of the Dewey Decimal System, Google employs its PageRank technology, which orders search results based on relevance. Google uses words like web page, catalogs and directory, which are more than just words: They convey an entire worldview.

In contrast, Technorati sees the internet as a stream of conversations. This makes it much more immediate. Google requires two to three weeks to input a site into its search engine. (Although it does post frequently updated content from news sites.)

For Technorati, it takes about seven minutes to index a post. Those who use complementary tools like LiveJournal, AOL Journals and Blogger can expect their posts to pop up on Technorati almost instantaneously.

"With Technorati, you know what is being said, when it is said, and who is saying it," Sifry said. You can track the metamorphosis of an idea, not only who commented on it last but who came up with it first."

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