Gargoyle – The South African Blog Search Engine

One of the folks who unfortunately could not join us at the last 27 Dinner in Cape Town was Peter Hart-Davis. It’s a pity too, because it looks like he’s involved in some much exciting projects.

Peter was going to use the 27 Dinner platform to introduce the idea of a dedicated South African Blog search engine along the lines of a Technorati but focused locally, serving the community and the world with an African zeitgeist. Peter explained in a follow up mail to me that it’s not intended as a replacement but as an answer to the many quality SA bloggers who get lost in the sheer volume of Technorati and Google.

It’s up and running and has been seeded by sites of attendees at the Jozi and CT 27 Dinners (normally these individuals would have had to submit their sites to the engine manually).

From Peter’s email: “It’s very much alpha as you will see but it is definitely usable. Tentatively called Gargoyle, the idea being that a gargoyle channels a gush of water. This is not an MWEB initiative even though it is hosted on an MWEB server. http://rhubarb.mweb.co.za:8080 (note that as its on an 8080 port if you use IE you have to include the http:// bit)…

Please check it out, obviously I would LOVE some feedback”

I did so, and here’s my feedback:

It’s frighteningly quick. Warranted, I’m on a 1Mbps ADSL line at home, but if this is how fast Gargoyle can deliver meaningful (and quality) results, it’ll be my very first stop when searching within the SA blogosphere – something I’ve needed to do before and will most certainly need to do in future…

It’s not pretty, but that will come. It has the bells and whistles – an RSS feed for every search as an example, a feature I simply love (from an online reputation management perspective).

This site could very quickly become the standard alternative (or augmentation) to Technorati indexing for African bloggers. Well done on what seems to be a very solid platform, Peter.

If you explore a bit you’ll also see that Peter is working on an ‘African Hive Mind’ Knowledge Bank – a sort of semantic search alternative. Brilliant. Looks to be a del.icio.us for Africa-type idea.

Peter – tell us more!

  • http://www.ddmcd.com Dennis McDonald

    Mike, I love the idea of specialized indexes and search engines. Can you point me to one or more discussions of the situations where they are particularly valuable, i.e., the fact that the objects being indexed and therefore searchable are in some way restricted in advance according to some criteria? Also, how would you explain the value of such search engines to people who have grown up with Google as an all purpose search engine?

  • http://cowboysengines.blogspot.com Andy Hadfield

    it’s a helluva thing this African search. I decided to do a bit of exploring and came up with some interesting finds. Might answer your question Dennis – if you’ve got the patience to work out the maths – there’s some points in Gargoyle’s “explain” link. You can read my stuff here if you’re interested…

  • Peter Hart-Davis

    Thanks for the feedback Mike , they are very much ‘works in progress’ and I will update you on the whole idea and progress as I get time out.

    I think the refining of the content is going to be critical.

    Knowledge Bank is the newer of the two and as a semantic engine does take some getting ones head around but I think it definitely has huge potential, particularly with regard to participation and mashups.

  • http://www.chilibean.co.za Paul Jacobson

    I agree with you Mike. Gargoyle is a great start to what could become a real alternative to Technorati. Feeds are a must for this sort of thing but I wouldn’t want to see Gargoyle follow the same path as Technorati.

  • Pingback: Why I Want Localised, Specialised Search | Mike Stopforth

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  • http://www.ideate.co.za Andrew

    Somebody buy this man a domain name.

  • Pingback: SIG-III Blog » Blog Archive » The African blogoshpere – more extensive than you might think

  • http://woganmay.com/ Wogan

    @Andrew Peter’s 2 years ahead of you on that one :)

    I’m not in the index! D:. Oh well.

    Yes, it’s blerry quick, and it’s definitely going somewhere. Give it 3 more months?

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