Rollyo — Roll Your Own Search

Finally, a new search engine I’m actually interested in: Rollyo‘s beta went public today. [found via John Batelle’s Searchblog]

Site search isn’t a new idea — you’ve been able to do that with trusty ‘ole Google forever — but being able to search a group of sites that you designate with the speed typical of a search engine is new. And that is what Rollyo lets you do.

So I created a few searchrolls. What the hell is a searchroll, you ask? Simply put, it is the group of sites you want to search — like a blogroll, only a bit more useful, if we’re being honest. The limit is 25 URLs per roll. They say they can import from your bookmarks, but I don’t have many of those these days as I tend to subscribe to the feed if I really want to go back, so had to do some old fashioned cut-and-paste. So far, it has been worth the (minimal) effort.

Aside from the obvious advantage of being able to narrow searches to only the sources I care about, there are a few other nifty bits:

  • Search gets social. I can browse other people’s searchrolls (if they have chosen to make them public) and see what groups of sites they are using. Rollyo asked some heavy hitters to create searchrolls — Dooce on parenting, Seth Godin’s Big Answer Deck, and Jeff Jarvis on Media Buzz. You can tag your searchrolls too, enabling people to look for searchrolls by topic — like web2.0.
  • Useful tools. Well, kind of. Adding Rollyo to Firefox’s search box is snap. The link offering a widget for OSX goes to a coming soon message.
  • Spiffy design by SimpleBits

This is a brand new web toy and it will be interesting to see how it develops. There two things I hope to see Rollyo do in the future: limit searches to part of a domain instead of the whole thing, and allow uploading of searchable URLs from feedreader-exported opml files. Oh, and put up the widget. I love those things.

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