Posted by Patrick on February 14th, 2006
David Sifry from Technorati came out with his “State of the Blogosphere, February 2006 Part 2: Beyond Search” post yesterday and it was as informative as Part 1, which dealt with growth in the blogosphere. While the entire post was chock full of great information, I was really excited by his announcement that Technorati was beta testing its filter by authority feature. This is a huge step in the right direction for all types of searches.
Filter By Authority: Giving YOU the power to tune your searches
There’s one more big feature that I wanted to write about tonight, our new Filter By Authority feature. You can see this on all keyword search results pages, looking like this:
Clicking on the green slider allows you to easily refine your search results to show greater or fewer matching blog posts. For some searches, you might want to pick and choose only posts from blogs that have been around a while and are highly influential – so pick “a lot of authority” as shown above. I’ve found this great for searches on highly trafficked topics, like “George Bush” or Olympics, or on topics that are known to get a lot of spam, like mortgage or refinance. I find that it often helps me to also answer the question, “Who is the most influential blogger talking about XXX this week, and what did she say?”
Clicking lower on the slider gives you the ability to see how different levels of filtering affect your search results. For my ego feeds, I always want to see every single mention, so I turn off filtering for those feeds. I also love looking at the charts on the left-hand side of each search result to see what changes when I change the filter, too.
As we implemented this feature, we spent a lot of time thinking about how to name it. We frequently use the term authority on our site when we talk about inbound links, as in “a link is a vote of authority.” So to maintain consistency we called this new feature, ” sort by authority.” But in no way should this imply a value judgment. More authority doesn’t necessarily mean more good or more interesting. In many instances, less authority yields more interesting results: a greater diversity of opinion, less mainstream thinking, more individual voices. The authority filter is a tool to fine tune results, and its a great way to zoom in on the voices that are commanding the most attention, and then zoom back out and listen to the whole diverse medium that is the blogosphere. With so many voices we’re happy to add a new tuning control!
The first thing that came to mind after reading his post was a vision of Scoble shouting, “You will respect my authority!”
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