Sphere Blog

May 12, 2006

week one in the rearview mirror

Filed under: Notable,Sphere Wrap-up — sphere @ 1:53 am

We’re really pleased with our launch – great exposure, lots of users playing around with the site, many kudos along with some constructive inputs. It was a good week, generating nearly a million page views, which really blows us away. It also underscored how helpful bloggers are about getting the word out – if you’re one of the folks who blogged about us, thanks – very much appreciated.

One data point that really jumps out is the use of our Sphere It! bookmarklet (we’ve had tens of thousands of downloads) and the high quality comments it received in reviews and personal emails. It’s our favorite app too so we’re pleased that others have quickly started using it to look for related blog content to the content you’re reading.

A few questions came up about the difference between Sphere It! and Technorati This! Both products try to give you content from the blogosphere that’s related to the web page you are currently reading. Sphere It! does this by doing semantic analysis of the page you are on and finding blog posts that talk about the same topic. Technorati This! does it by looking for blog posts that link to the page you are on. So if you are reading an article on the new CIA director, Sphere It! will give you the most relevant blog posts that also talk about him. Technorati This! will only give you the posts that happen to link to the specific article you are reading (which often miss or have no results at all). Here is an example (you need to download the Sphere It! and Technorati This! bookmarklets) that helps illustrate the point:

Go To Time – here is the current lead article on their home page (today at 2:37 pm) called “What’s Gone Wrong for Britain’s Tony Blair”.

Click on your Sphere It! button and it should bring you to a sphere results page – I’m showing 1,000+ blog post results talking about concepts covered in the article.

Now click on Technorati This! and you get 4 blog post results which are all duplicates.

This above example exposes some weaknesses that a link based approach (Technorati This!) has vs. a semantic analysis approach (Sphere It!):

  1. A lot of content has zero links from bloggers therefore the results set will be zero or shallow
  2. The freshest content is unlikely to have any matches or very few matches because bloggers haven’t had enough time to link to the content
  3. When there are results, they’re time based so you don’t get relevance, just the luck of chronology

Sphere It! results are:

  1. Immediate – we’re not dependent on links – we just look at the content, figure out what it’s talking about and then look at blog content and see who’s talking about similar things but from a blogger perspective
  2. We’re showing results for contextually relevant as well as links to the article

27 Comments »

  1. [...] Unlike Technorati’s “Technorati This” feature, which shows blog entries that link to the URL being searched, Sphere It doesn’t report links. Rather, it does a semantic analysis on the text within the page being searched and returns blog results that it finds relevant to the article. For more on the difference between Sphere It and Technorati This, see Sphere CEO Tony Conrad’s blog post here. [...]

    Pingback by TechCrunch » Blog Archive » Time.com Adds “Sphere It” Links — May 23, 2006 @ 1:59 am | Reply

  2. [...] Tony Conrad of Sphere explains the differences, and Sphere seems to be delivering. [...]

    Pingback by Library clips :: Sphere and others : related posts from the blogosphere :: May :: 2006 — May 23, 2006 @ 6:19 am | Reply

  3. [...] Contrairement à la fonctionnalité « Technorati this » qui ne montre que les blogs qui pointent vers une URL donnée Sphere étend le champ des recherches à l’analyse sémantique de la page où vous vous trouvez et dirigera vers des résultats qui seront censés être pertinents sur cette requête. Plus de détails sur les différences chez Tony Conrad. [...]

    Pingback by TechCrunch en français » Time.com ajoute un lien “Sphere It” — May 23, 2006 @ 11:58 am | Reply

  4. [...] I saw on Techcrunch that the blog search engine Sphere that Joe wrote about a while back has launched a competing tool that is currently getting a trial on Time Magazine’s website. According to Sphere, the Sphere tool is different because it performs a semantic analysis of web pages to find articles on the same topic. So, in theory, the new Sphere tool will find more related blog entries since it is searching based on similarities in content between the article and blog entries as opposed to simply whether the blog entry links to the article. [...]

    Pingback by Sphere Hits the Time Magazine Website » The Bivings Report — May 24, 2006 @ 2:27 am | Reply

  5. [...] For more on the difference between Sphere It and Technorati This, see Sphere CEO Tony Conrad’s blog post here [...]

    Pingback by heyjude » Sphere it! to read it! — May 25, 2006 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  6. [...] В отличие от фичи "Technorati This" от Technorati, которая показывает все блоги, на которых есть ссылки на текущий URL, Sphere It показывает не просто входящие ссылки. Двигаясь дальше, Sphere производит семантический анализ текста, находящегося на текущей странице и возвращает результаты, которые она считает релевантными данной статье. Чтобы узнать о других отличиях между Sphere It и Technorati This, см. блог CEO Sphere, Тони Конрада. [...]

    Pingback by Web 2.0 - Что нового? Новости интернет проектов » Time.com добавляет ссылки “Sphere It” — May 28, 2006 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  7. [...] TechCrunch writes: Unlike Technorati’s “Technorati This” feature, which shows blog entries that link to the URL being searched, Sphere It doesn’t report links. Rather, it does a semantic analysis on the text within the page being searched and returns blog results that it finds relevant to the article. For more on the difference between Sphere It and Technorati This, see Sphere CEO Tony Conrad’s blog post here. [...]

    Pingback by » Search Engine Herald — June 1, 2006 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  8. [...] 検索されたURL とリンクされているブログ記事を表示する Technorati の“Technorati This”の機能と違い、 Sphere It はリンクされている記事を表示するわけではない。検索されるページ内のテキストの語義分析を行い、その記事に関連するブログサイトを結果として引き出している。Sphere It と Technorati This の違いについては、Sphere の CEO Tony Conrad氏のブログ記事に詳細が書かれている。 こちらから。 [...]

    Pingback by TechCrunch Japanese アーカイブ » Time.com “Sphere It”のリンクを追加 — June 14, 2006 @ 3:41 am | Reply

  9. Hi Tony,

    I’m really enjoying Sphere, the related feature is your “thing”.

    Question:

    The search query – sphereit:libraryclips.blogsome.com…will find related posts to my blog.

    If I want it at the blog post level, I just do – sphereit:libraryclips.blogsome.com/2006/06/01/xfruits-rss-workhorse

    Now here’s my question…how do I do it at the blog post level but only see related posts from my blog…ie. for each of my blog posts I want to see other related blog posts of mine.

    While I’m at it, imagine limiting the related posts to your own feed set, ie your own OPML eg. Bloglines subscriptions

    Comment by John Tropea — June 14, 2006 @ 4:03 am | Reply

  10. [...] We first posted about Sphere this past Saturday, a few days after we learned about it and as soon as we had time to work with it and get a feeling for its capability. We recognized at once that it had great potential for enhancing the global conversation, while avoiding the above mentioned pitfalls in the other commonly used tools. Later, while reading an article written by Sphere CEO Tony Conrad, our intuition was confirmed: A few questions came up about the difference between Sphere It! and Technorati This! Both products try to give you content from the blogosphere that’s related to the web page you are currently reading. Sphere It! does this by doing semantic analysis of the page you are on and finding blog posts that talk about the same topic. Technorati This! does it by looking for blog posts that link to the page you are on. So if you are reading an article on the new CIA director, Sphere It! will give you the most relevant blog posts that also talk about him. Technorati This! will only give you the posts that happen to link to the specific article you are reading (which often miss or have no results at all)…. [...]

    Pingback by American Daughter Media Center - Front Page » Blog Archive » Sphere It! — July 5, 2006 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  11. Sphere It!

    The newly launched company Sphere is poised to make a very positive contribution to the quality of life in the Blogosphere. Their semantic search application can be launched from within a post, by clicking on the spice-colored icon. It will find oth…

    Trackback by Front Page — July 5, 2006 @ 9:09 am | Reply

  12. [...] Competitor Technorati has its own deals with major partnerships like the Wall Street Journal Online, Washington Post and Newsweek. Those deals, however, point to blogs posting on a specific article, whereas Sphere It focuses on the content itself, finding similar articles regardless of whether or not they’ve linked to the original source. See this post for a longer description of the difference between what the two companies offer (frankly, both are useful, although Sphere It is better for newer content that has few links in). Sphere [...]

    Pingback by Techcrunch » Blog Archive » Sphere Nails Long Terms Deal With About.com — July 28, 2006 @ 8:51 am | Reply

  13. [...] ライバルのTechnoratiはWall Street Journal OnlineやWashington Post、Newsweekなどと重要なパートナー契約を結んでいる。しかし、これらの契約は特定の記事に関してリンクされたブログを検索する技術を提供するものである。一方Sphere Itは、オリジナルの記事とリンクされていようといまいと、記事内容そのものを検索して関連あるブログページを発見する。両社の提供する技術の相違についてはこの記事で詳しく触れられている (実のところ、どちらも有用な技術ではあるが、まだインバウンドリンクが少ない新し目の記事について言えば、Sphere Itの方がより優れた検索結果が得られる)。 [...]

    Pingback by TechCrunch Japanese アーカイブ » Sphere、About.comから長期契約を獲得 — July 28, 2006 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  14. [...] Competitor Technorati has its own deals with major partnerships like the Wall Street Journal Online, Washington Post and Newsweek. Those deals, however, point to blogs posting on a specific article, whereas Sphere It focuses on the content itself, finding similar articles regardless of whether or not they’ve linked to the original source. See this post for a longer description of the difference between what the two companies offer (frankly, both are useful, although Sphere It is better for newer content that has few links in). Sphere [...]

    Pingback by SilverFusion.com » Blog Archive » Sphere Nails Long Term Deal With About.com — July 30, 2006 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

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