In the part of the conversation, they discussed something I do frequently: look for references to my blog posts on the three services that provide this feature in a somewhat timely fashion: Technorati, Feedster, and Bloglines.
In fact, if you read my blog by visiting its home page in your browser (rather than looking at individual posts in an aggregator), you may have noticed that I provide per-post navigation links for this:
I check those links several times a day to see what people are saying about things I've written recently. While I've not kept a detailed log of my findings, I've noticed that the speed, freshness, and comprehensiveness of the three services vary quite a bit. Speed is all about query speed: how quickly I see results. Freshness is a measure of how quickly the services discover new links. Comprehensiveness is determined by finding the most links to me (or any other URL, of course).
Technorati has the slowest searches but it's the most comprehensive. It also seems to find more links to me in a timely manner (freshness) than anyone else. The query speed is less of an issue than it was in the past, though there are still occasional 120+ second queries. It's generally the slowest of the three for this use.
Bloglines is almost always the fastest of the three at returning results. However it's generally the least fresh and not as comprehensive as Technorati or Feedster.
Feedster varies a lot. At times I've been impressed with the freshness and speed. Other times it's disappointing. Over time, though, the comprehensiveness is good, but not as good as Technorati.
To put this in tabular form, if I was to rate the three services against each other, it'd look something like this. (1 is best, 2 is good, 3 is worst)
For my use, Technorati has the edge today.
What This Means
It's probably safe to assume that comprehensiveness is a measure of the index size (or number of feeds each service reads). Since Feedster and Technorati are both in the business of trying to read all of them, it's useful comparison. Bloglines happens to provide this service, but it really exists to serve the needs of readers. The fact that Bloglines is competitive at all speaks to Mark's capabilities as a developer and architect.
Based on what I've seen, I'd guess that Technorati has the largest index (the give out the number on their home page), followed by Feedster and Bloglines.
So I Ask
This leaves me with two questions to ask:
- What have your experiences been?
- Has anyone built a tool that tracks the speed, freshness, and comprehensiveness of the three services? I know that tools like this exist for web search.
It'd be interesting to simply measure the lag time in the index updates (freshness) for each service. I'd probably use PubSub as a baseline to do that. PubSub is fresh and comprehensive, but it doesn't keep any history. It provides notification or alerts based on pre-defined queries, not ad-hoc queries that look back in time.
Posted by jzawodn at January 15, 2005 10:50 PM