The original Technorati was born during a writing project David Sifry and I were doing for Linux Journal. Late at night David pinged me and said “Look at this,” and I was amazed. It was the first search engine for what we then called The Live Web (and now call Real Time). Basically, it was a search engine that just paid attention to RSS, which back then consisted mostly of blogs. (I welcome corrections from David, or anybody, on that. It’s been awhile.) When David made Technorati a company, he put me on its advisory board, and for awhile I had some influence on where it went and what it did. It was also, for many subjects, my primary search engine. If I wanted to follow conversation about a subject, Technorati was where I went first. I also liked the way it allowed me to look at a topic’s trending over the last few weeks or months. Technorati was also a technical pioneer, introducing tag search, along with new standards and practices around tagging in general. After Google Blogsearch came along, I used both, but Technorati was usually my first choice. I especially liked s.technorati.com, which gave the same results through a plain no-bullshit search UI.
Over the years, however, Technorati came to value popularity and buzz more than the kind of stuff I was looking for. Some of the same functionality was there, but it was buried deeper and deeper. For example, feeds of searches. If I wanted to subscribe to feeds of, say, a search for Nokia N900, I could click on something that said (or meant) “get a feed for this search.” Google Blogsearch had the same feature, and made it easy. Still does, giving me a choice of Blog Alerts, Atom and RSS, under a heading that says “Subscribe”. Twitter search, similarly, has “feed for this query”.
Without being able to find that feed easily, I lost interest in Technorati, only going there when I couldn’t find the results I wanted elsewhere. By that time David and most of the other people I knew at Technorati had moved on, so I didn’t have much interest in volunteering advice.
But I learned this morning (via Twitter, naturally) that Technorati had gone through an overhaul. It’s certainly faster and less cluttered. But I still can’t find feeds for searches. Trending seems to be gone, or hidden where I can’t find it. And I have no idea how to do tag searches with it. Maybe that’s because, as CEO Richard Jalichandra explains here, “We’re eliminating many of Technorati.com’s annoyances and some features, especially ones people didn’t use enough to justify the cost. Instead, we’re focusing on delivering the value people really want from us: instead of boiling the ocean to make coffee, we’re aiming to deliver the non-fat soy latte you asked for.”
Well, that “you” isn’t me. Which is cool. Technorati has become less a search company and more a media company. They launched Technorati Media at the same time. It’s a way to buy and sell ads. I wish them well with it. (Hey, Techcruch likes it.)
Meanwhile I’ll stick with Google Blogsearch for my live Web searching.
Wonder what the rest of ya’ll think.