What I like about these two services is that you can tune what you see…both allow you to include terms you want to see on the cloud, and both allow you to exclude terms you don’t want to see on the cloud.
Swicki even can include popular search terms from visitors…eveytime someone searches your Swicki you get an email alerting you this has happened and if you want to include this term in your keyword cloud.
You can wait and check your statistics later on, if you find the keyword is used a lot, you may decide to include it then.
If this happens a lot maybe the option of feed notification would be helpful.
It also has the flexibilty for you to delete, promote/demote hits from your results
…if I do a search on rss, and a post I have that is about how to use RSS is on the 8th page of my results, I can promote it to the top
…this way next time someone searches rss, the top hit will be what I tuned it to be.
NOTE: What if I have another post I want to promote to 2nd place, I can’t do this…
Just as important I can delete hits from my results so they never show up again for the same search query in the future. Some hits showing up in my search results are my blog homepage, or a category page (which could be handy for discovery), I could delete these pages so I just see blog post permalinks in my results.
I can’t remember if I have said this elsewhere, but this is very much the same way intranet search is tuned.
If you look in the search logs and you notice that there are a lot of search queries for travel form, but the actual travel form that people are looking for is on the 2 page of results, then just tune it to the top…a bit of manual override.
For topics like this see Column Two, and Boxes and Arrows.
Anyway…something else I’m looking for in ZoomClouds and Swicki is synonym rings or more broad clustering…MySyndicaat has this very thing.
In Swicki I could set it so if users search with the term folksonomy, they will also get hits for the term folksonomies…if users search with the term feed they will also get hits for the term RSS.
NOTE: this could really confuse someone if they were to do a boolean search like feed NOT rss…it would seem broken.
Are people going to boolean search or should we go behind the scenes so they don’t have to…really depends on the user. NOTE: this isn’t a replacement for Boolean searching.
Like wise in ZoomClouds I could cluster terms, and say to the machine IF feed CLUSTER AS rss (that’s my attempt at ontology language).
So when the machine is analysing the blog content it may find the term feed appearing 50 times in the last 8 blog posts, this is a significant quantity, so it will attempt to display the term feed in the tag cloud, but this is interrupted by my clever ontology code which says include these posts under the cloud term RSS.
Then I can say (as mentioned at the start of this post) include RSS as a permanent term in the cloud (since I blog a lot about RSS chances are it will be in the cloud anyway)…then when someone clicks on the term RSS it will also display posts containing the term feed.
I really like the idea of having 3rd party landing pages, another one I use is Feedpass (a bit controversial).
The reason I like it is that you can customise your landing page with your own ads, your own favourite links, etc…
Something else I forgot to mention about Swicki is that from a results page you can submit a webpage that you think is relevant to the results…next time the same search is made, your submitted webpage will be in the results…this is truly the read/write web…the more you use it an tune it the better it gets…the organic web.
NOTE: Swicki is not just about site searching, as the owner you can ask it to search lots of websites, this is the main focus of Rollyo. Actually Rollyo also lets you do batches of these which live in a drop down menu…veyr nifty.
At the moment I have 3 search boxes on my blog, Technorati, Google Blog search and Swicki…search is a fine art so I need both the first two (with these two I know I’m covered) and I really like the features of Swicki.
But I could ditch the first two by using Blogbar, this does site searching at Google and Technorati, and searches the web from a myriad of other engines…if this includes Google Blog search in it’s site search then it’s a go.
[ADDED: I use Bitty Browser to display my OPML Reading List…you can set Bitty Browser to display any webpage, search result, feed or OPML…then are plenty of choices on offer.
Equally it is a meta-search utility, so yet again I have another search box on my blog…you can disable the search box in the options if you like…plenty of customisation.]
[ADDED: So how do I get Blogbar’s drop down selection of web engines, Rollyo’s dropdown selection of custom selected website rolls, and Swicki’s community search all in the one search box…see more search boxes.]
[ADDED 5/06/06: what if Swicki had another tab where you could import your OPML Reading List, when someone searches your Swicki, your blog results can be in the middle column and results from your OPML can stream down the side…maybe it can also display the top 5 blog homepage/feeds for that search query.]