A few weeks ago I blasted Google +’s Sparks feature indicating that it had missed how social, semantics and aggregation could be combined in an effective way.
I’m still a Google + skeptic, despite the massive subscriber numbers, as Google recently announced they will try to continue real-time search after losing its agreement with Twitter by using Google +. The reality is that real-time search will need Twitter and a much larger user base to be truly successful.
There are other options to Google Sparks though, like Toronto-based Thoora which is a new way to discover and share the best content on the web.
Users curate their own topics which are built with keywords and phrases, who can then in turn tweet about their topic with a hyperlink, and add twitter accounts who curate other topics. Users can also add their own RSS feeds to their custom created aggregators.
Carrie Shaw, Thoora's head of product says: “Thoora’s patented semantic aggregation engine then explores the entire blogosphere, Twitter, other social media apps, and thousands of traditional media sources, and uses over 100 signals to filter, rank, and deliver the best results”.
The major difference between Google and Thoora is that instead of using all of the latter search engine’s category features to find what you’re looking for, Thoora lists it all right there for you in a custom way. If you’re not impressed by search results for a particular niche buzzword using any of Google’s search engine services, Thoora may provide more quality returns on the content you're looking for.
Even though Google recently came out with the +1 feature, I’ve noticed it’s pretty seldomly used and really was more so Google trying to take a piece of the social sharing pie- the idea behind the button was to influence search results based on social activity. While that wouldn’t have been a bad idea a few years ago when Google was truly king of the Internet, Google doesn’t factor in the hundreds of social share buttons that sharing features like AddThis employ, not enabling the user to have a good content finding experience.
Thoora attempts to change all of that by giving the user complete control- where they can favourite or remove results as they see fit, and the aggregation engine then refines the subsequent results to better meet the user’s needs and preferences.
Shaw says: “Over time, topics develop specific angles that are unique to each user, and can then be shared among friends and followers on social networks”.
Shaw further continued with Thoora’s vision: “We believe that the discovery of great content cannot be accomplished by algorithms alone, but nor can any human make sense of the entire web. A blend of algorithmic aggregation and easy-to-use curation tools are necessary to distill the vast land of content on the Internet down to something manageable”.
After all, John R. Quain of Fox News agrees in this redcent article on why Google is killing Internet search: “Sorting through the digital flotsam and jetsam of the World Wide Web is no easy matter to be sure, but it seems that with each passing week, Google's search results become more disappointing”.
Disappointing results from traditional search engine providers means that now, in a web that is now more than just algorithims, new aggregation engines like Thoora that offer that personalized discovery experiences can thrive.
Thoora is available to the public on the web in beta, so sign up today, and plans to launch an Android app in the fall, so stay tuned for that as well!