A new search engine, Newssift beta was recently launched by the Financial Times Group in an attempt to attract business users to search. It allows users to build incredibly specific queries to help return very specific and relevant results. Newssift also tend to focus on business oriented sources, including magazines, blogs, newspapers and other credible sources to help maintain higher quality results.
The site will be supported financially by the sale of ad space down the right hand side of the search results. Currently these ads are not contextually driven based on a user’s search, but plans for the change are in the works for a future release.
As you enter in your search term, sub categories are displayed to help you narrow your search. Clicking on a topic under “business topics”, “organization”, “place”, “person” or “theme” will help you to narrow your search accordingly, or you can simply click “Go” to see results from all categories.
Next to the results returned they have also included a “Sentiment” pie chart that shows the break down of the results. A search for “google” brought up about 45% positive, 29% neutral, and around 25% negative stories. You can then click the pie chart and see only stories with the corresponding sentiment.
Beneath this is the “Article Sources” pie chart. Here you can select from “online news”, “blogs”, “newspapers”, or whatever other source you would like to narrow your search down by. If you want to see only positive blog posts about Google you’ll find about 1800 articles.
Another handy feature is the ability to search within your results, a feature not as easily done with the major search engines.
Selecting the timeframe of results within your search criteria is easily done and a welcome feature. If results from today only, or perhaps a specific past date or date range interest you, it’s as simple as selecting the appropriate timeframe.
I have read a few reviews about the site where it is noted as being ugly and somewhat cumbersome to use, but personally I found it to be fairly straightforward, and surprisingly, I somewhat liked the look. While it is not as simple as doing a search at Google, the increased functionality is very welcomed in easily narrowing down the search to the specific types of articles you are looking to read.
For anyone researching a specific news story, Newssift may make finding some of information you are after considerably faster and easier. I personally am not a big fan of the search engine’s name, I would prefer something easier to say, “newsfilter” for example (but that’s already been taken by a domain squatter). Overall some of the features found in Newssift would be perfect if integrated within Google News – perhaps an acquisition will be in order sometime in the future.