Topicle: Is That All There Is?

March 10, 2008

You can build your own vertical search engine using Topicle. Topicle is a platform for vertical search engines, rather as Ning is a platform for social networks and BricaBox is a platform for social content.

That’s about as exciting as I can make Topicle sound. It’s less of a platform than a veneer on top of the Google Custom Search platform. I set up a Custom Search engine about a year and a half ago. There’s a link to said engine in the sidebar of this blog, since it provides Directions Along the Changing Ways: it enables search of, not just this blog, but the whole happy Changing Way family of sites.

I did create a search engine for Boston at Topicle. I remain underwhelmed. It’s essentially a list of site URIs. Note that you (yes you) can edit the list.

The most interesting part of the exercise came when I tried to make the engine understand the Boston-ness of this blog. Posts I put in the Boston category should be searched. Posts I put in other categories (e.g., WordPress) should not be searched by the Boston engine.

So I included the Boston category by specifying the URI http://changingway.org/category/boston/. Although Topicle/Google accepted the URI, it doesn’t appear to do the corresponding search. I got similar results, or lack of results, when I included the feed for the Boston category.

I know that eclectic blogs like this one present problems for vertical search, but I think it’s a problem that vertical search engines need to solve. Lest you think that this blog is alone in its eclecticism, I give you the example of Fred Wilson.

There’s more enthusiastic coverage of Topicle at RWW and at Mashable. It notes that “former Google Product Manager Steffen Mueller” is behind Topicle.

One Response to “Topicle: Is That All There Is?”


  1. Topicle is boring and useless


Comments are closed.

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