We’re please to release Sphere V1.2 – Mike at TechCrunch has a great review of our site. Major kudos to the team – we’ve done this with nine people 🙂 . We hope you like the changes, we’re certain there will be more and we’d love our future direction to be guided by your input, so please play around with the updated site and let us know your input.
The idea behind V1.2 is to better align Sphere.com with what we do very well, make connections between mainstream and conversation media content. We’re strong believers in conversational media. We believe everyone has a voice, and our mission is to create exposure for a wide variety of opinions and thoughts fostered by the unique relationship between these complimentary content sources. By making these connections, we’re exposing a broader set of Internet readers to blog content, fostering dialog, empowering people dedicated to create unique, highly personal content.
You can see the most buzzed about articles/ blog posts from a mixture of mainstream media and bloggers that are Sphere Related Content partners, organized in 8 topic categories (Top News, US, World, Entertainment, Sports, Politics, Technology, Business). For each topic, Breaking News items are surfaced via an algorithm every few minutes by finding those articles with the greatest percentage increase in “buzz” over the last several hours. Click on any of the featured articles and you’ll see it displayed in the center preview window. In the next column, we display blogs or mainstream media articles that are contextually relevant to the preview content. You can just keep drilling to see related content to any blog or mainstream media article. A win win win for users, partner sites and Sphere. We love it.
We’ve also made some big changes with our blog search results page. Do a search on a topic like “Nicolas Sarkozy” . Here is what you’ll see:
- Blog post results from the last 24 days that match the keyword query, ranked by relevance
- You can expand the time-frame to the last 7 days
- You can sort by Date or Relevance
- We look at the blog post results in aggregate and surface mainstream media content that is contextually relevant
- You’ll also notice a link at the bottom of each result titled “Related Content” – by clicking on this link, you’ll display our contextual widget pop-up with related blog posts and media articles
We also made a decision to show only results from the last 7 days and not further back (we’d love your feedback on this). We feel there is too much information out there now and showing gazillions of results from several months ago only creates more clutter and more overload. If users want a larger time-frame than the last 7 days, we highly recommend they go to Technorati or Google Blog Search. But, if they want the freshest mainstream media/ blog post content, and are interested in the relationship between mainstream media and blogger perspectives, we feel Sphere is an awesome place to search. We also got rid of a bunch of those unimportant tabs and now offer three: About, Tools, Feedback. Those are the essential areas partners and people care about, everything else just adds to the clutter.
Lastly, the far right quadrant makes it easier for bloggers to request the widget. Don’t be shy, add the widget to your site.
We feel we’ve done something here very innovative, and we’ve put a stake in the ground on what we do best:
- Creating a sensible blog search experience (fast, comprehensive, simplified); and
- Fostering connections between blog and mainstream media content.
Please help us to make Sphere a better site by letting us know what you think.