31 Jan 2007
Great news – today we launched a feature I’ve really been looking forward to and that I hope you’ll come to love as much as I do. It’s called WTF (no, not that: It’s “Where’s the Fire.”)
We’ve been doing a lot of thinking and planning lately about how we can help to make Technorati more useful to more people. Of course, we’re constantly working on improving our core search areas, staying the most comprehensive live web search engine, being the fastest and most responsive engine, pulling out the most spam and splogs so they don’t show up in results, and providing you with as much information as possible about the topics you care about.
One of the things that we’ve found is that as the blogosphere and the Live Web in general has become more and more active, it’s increasingly difficult to immediately discern why any given topic is a top search on Technorati. This is especially true when it’s a topic that pretty regularly shows up in our top searches (for instance, MySpace or iPhone or Paris Hilton). Folks who use Technorati a lot have consistently shared with us their desire to quickly and efficiently get to the really relevant stuff fast.
That’s why our team developed Where’s the Fire. When you see a top search with an orange flame next to it, it means at least one person from the community has written their view as to why that topic is hot – right now. The community is also invited to either write their own explanation or vote on the WTFs they view as most helpful. Based on a combination of number of votes and timeliness, the top WTFs by search topic appear on the top of the results page.
But it isn’t just for the hottest searches or the stuff with the biggest buzz – in fact, one of the things that I like the most about WTF is that you can write an explanation about any search or topic, and if you get the most votes, your explanation goes in at the top of the results page for that search. You can write a WTF on any topic that someone would search for, and provide information and resources to them about that topic or subject. So, you might want to write a WTF about yourself or your friends names, or your company (or maybe even your competition!)
If you think that you’ve got a better explanation than the one that shows up on top of Technorati search results for a term, no worries, just go and write your own, and get your friends to vote for it. When you write something great, tell your friends to go and vote for it – for example, please go and vote for my explanation of WTF itself if you think it succinctly tells the story of the feature, and the voting system will take care of the rest.
In many ways, the most valuable real estate a site like ours has is our search pages. So, we’re taking a pretty big risk with this. WTF is a big experiment; we’re entrusting the most valuable real estate to you – our community – and we think it’s going to be a powerful way to make Technorati more useful to you.
So check it out and give it a try. And, as always, please share your thoughts and ideas with me – we really want this to be a useful and engaging new service for all those who use Technorati.