Spam-free blog search goes public

Swedish startup Twingly opens up beta testing of its blog search engine, which delivers spam-free search results

Swedish startup Twingly is going public with its blog search engine, which is being built to deliver spam-free search results.

For the last two months, Twingly.com has been available as a closed beta. At present, it offers two search options: regular search and spam-free search. The latter is still in beta testing.

"The traditional way of building a spam-free index is to remove spam blogs as they are discovered, but we are starting from scratch, only adding spam-free blogs to the index," said Martin Källström, CEO at Twingly.

The benefit is better results; the drawback is a longer development phase, according to Källström. The spam-free index currently includes about half a million blogs, compared to 30 million in the regular search index.

Before ending the beta phase -- hopefully in the fourth quarter, according to Källström -- Twingly wants the spam-free index to include several million blogs. "At that point, the plan is to remove the regular search option," he said.

To keep spam out, Twingly uses its own algorithm. One thing its algorithm does when adding a new a blog to the index is look at other blogs it links to. Linking to other known spam-producing blogs is usually a bad thing.

Combating spam has become a must for search companies, according to Källström. Since spam blogs are now considered to stand for the majority of the blog posts worldwide, traditional search engines are becoming useless.

Besides spam-free search results, Twingly.com offer several other features as well. For example, bloggers can add a widget to their site to offer integration with the search engine.

Both bloggers and users can enhance search results by linking to or clicking on posts they like. Users vote by clicking on the word "like" next to the search result, but first they have to register, to prevent cheating, according to Källström.

Users can also subscribe to search results via e-mail or RSS.

Another feature Twingly has added is what it calls "hot right now," which looks at what is creating a buzz in the blogosphere -- not what its users are searching for, but analyzing what bloggers are actually writing about.

"We have just scratched the surface of what is possible by analyzing what's happening in the blogosphere, and will put a lot more development effort in that area," said Källström.

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