AlmostAPersonalSearchEngine: Lijit. So close, yet so far.

Just as I’m about to head for bed last night, something on an RSS feed catches my eye. Damn you, Robert Scoble. So, instead of doing the sensible thing, I start fiddling with Lijit.

What Lijit promises to do is pretty ambitious, and also genuinely useful to boot. It acts as a Personal Search Engine for all your content online, wherever it happens to be. In other words, one search box will give results back from your blog(s), flickr, facebook, myspace, delicious, furl, StumbleUpon and all the rest. Everything you’re ever put online, indexed for your convenience. Nice.

Until Google gives us the ability to run searches such as “macro photography who:me”, it’s as close as we’ll come. Something like Lijit would make a great replacement for a standard blog search bar, for sure.

But….. does it work?

First impressions with the service are good, almost jaw droppingly so. I signed up as greywulf, gave it my blog url and it automatically found me on facebook, furl, delicious, flickr twitter, mybloglog and a host of other services (some of which I’ve not even used for years!). Clever stuff. It’s quite frightening to see 90% of your online presence summarised in this way. Thankfully, turning off access to certain services is just a checkbox away.

https://i1.wp.com/home.greywulf.cf/images/lijit.jpg?w=735

It’s all very polished too, in that friendly Web 2.0 cartoon balloon kinda way. Am I the only one who’s bored with the look, already?

But….. does it work?

In a word. No.

Maybe it’s because this is a wikiblog, not some spam battling WordPress creation. Maybe it’s all my fault. I dunno. But 90% of the time I’ve found that the search function in Lijit just doesn’t work. When that’s exactly what it’s supposed to do, it’s a bummer. For example, a search for Microlite 20, photography, Ubuntu or High Dynamic Range yields absolutely nothing – despite that fact I’ve written loads about all of those things. Heck, it failed to find my photos and the contents of my delicious feeds that refer to those items too.

In other words, it failed the Ten Minute Test after a very promising first 8 minutes. The setup is awesome, the look is good, but when it comes to the crunch of doing what it’s supposed to, it failed with flying colours.

Awe heck. I’m feeling generous. Maybe there way a glitch someplace. Maybe I did something wrong. Whatever. Later this week I’ll give it another looksee with fresh eyes and see whether it’s better second time around.

Who knows?

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