Sphere, a blog search engine, finally launched today (May 2, 2006) after much anticipation with a new look and logo since first hearing about Sphere in October 2005. My first impressions was that it presents a very simple interface with a clean layout. The site was designed with the help of Adaptive Path and Ryan Freitas had this to say on designing the search site:
"The question for the Adaptive Path team was how to iterate the search experience without alienating users. More importantly, we wanted to do so without messing up the elegance of the search box."
The search features were a little different than what I am used to but they were manageable once I took a quick look at the search tips. One interesting thing I noted was that Sphere keeps tabs on a few blog metrics like average posts per week, average words per post and number of posts this week under a blog profile page. Also Sphere provides a media search which pulls together a news, photo and book search all in one page. The photos appear to be pulled in from Webshots.
There were a number perspectives given in the following Sphere reviews:
Overall, I liked Sphere and think it has a chance to compete with Technorati, Google Blog Search and IceRocket.com for the blog search engine crown but its biggest obstacle is going to be to teaching old
Technorati trained dogs new tricks. Sphere has a solid braintrust with past successes which include WordPress and
OddPost so I think they might just be able to make this blog search
engine race interesting.