Iterend, a new blog search and discovery engine, is entering a highly competitive market. It competes with Technorati, Google's Blog Search, Sphere, Icerocket, and many other smaller players. Iterend is trying to differentiate itself from the competition by putting a stronger focus on tracking memes, clustering results, and using tag clouds for navigation. While we mostly like Iterend's design and feature set, the search engine itself is not very useful yet, as the crawler is extremely slow and the index often only reflects stories that are more than 20 hours old.
Tag Cloud and Top Stories
Iterend indexes about 250,000 blogs. Once you log in, you are greeted by a very large tag cloud on the left side of the screen and a list of the top stories of the past 24 hours on the right. It is not quite clear how Iterend determines this list, but it simply seems to look at how often a story was linked to. Currently, this list is dominated by political stories.
The tag cloud is a bit overwhelming at first. To see all of it, you have to scroll down and it includes over 250 keywords.
The search engine itself relies heavily on tag clouds as well. For every search, Iterend displays two tag clouds that allow you to drill down deeper into your search: one for related phrases and one for related categories.
If you search for "McCain," for example, Iterend will suggest searching for "Obama" or "Sarah Palin." This actually works quite well and allows you to filter your searches quickly and effortlessly. You can also subscribe to an RSS feed for every search.
Iterend has a lot of potential. However, the company needs to make sure that its index is more up to date. Today, most blog search engines index a post within minutes after it is posted, so having a 20 hour delay simply takes away any reason to even start using this service - unless you are looking for old news.
Iterend gave us 1000 invites for our readers. Just follow this link and give it a try.