Rollyo: Roll Your Own Search Engine

ROLLYO is the latest mind warp from Dave Pell. Rollyo affords anyone the ability to roll their own Yahoo!-powered search engine, attenuating results to a set of up to 25 sites. And while the searchrolls (as they’re called) you create are around a particular topic (e.g. Food and Dining), they are also attached to a real person (e.g. Food and Dining is by Jason Kottke). The result is a topic-specific search created and maintained by a trusted source.

Some of the topic/personality associations are on the more obvious side: Matt Haughey has a “PVR Search” and John Battelle has “The Search Search”. Others may be a little more unobvious: I had no idea Evan Williams was into “Modern Furniture”. And then there are those lovely surprises Dave has brought in, like Debra Messing‘s “Style Shops” searchroll.

Rolly’s basic premise is one I’ve been preaching of late: attenuation is the next aggregation — one of the themes of the 2006 edition of The O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference (aka ETech). While most social software efforts are additive in nature (Orkut allowed me to walk into a room populated by all n people I’ve ever met, thought I’d met, or been convinced I’d met along with everyone they’ve ever met, thought they’ve met, …) and so don’t particularly reflect real life–or realistic use, mind. Personal brands (although I’ve always disliked the term) are very real: when it comes ot search, Battelle’s my guide; for PR and marketing, Godin had me at “Purple”.

I’ll be writing more about this subject in the coming months as I work with my program committee to put together ETech. In the meantime, if you’ve any thoughts on, ideas around, or applications of the subject, please do drop me a line.

Be sure to check out the O’Reilly Radar searchroll (a work in process, as is the point of Rollyo). Congrats, Dave, on your launch!