Topix.net, possibly the most feature rich news search engine online already, has relaunched and looks very cool. The Topix index of 50,000 news sources is 10 times larger than the Google News index and 7 times as large as Yahoo! News. Topix really focuses on local search. Today’s relaunch makes the search results on Topix much easier to use than they have been before.
Founded in 2002 by some of the creators of the DMOZ open directory project, majority stake in Topix is now owned by media companies Gannett, McClatchy/Knight Ridder and the Tribune Company.
The best new feature in this week’s relaunch is the visual timeline for the number of results from each day in the last year. It’s like Technorati’s blog search timeline, but on Topix you can click any point in the visual and see results from that day and prior. Google and Yahoo News results only go back 30 days or less.
Searches on Topix are now case sensitive, so you can search for “IT” for example, without getting a page full of results for the word “it.”
Search results from blogs are highlighted with a little blue “B” next to the story titles. Integrating blog and news search results by default is a nice touch. Words in the result excerpts that have their own dedicated topic pages are highlighted and display a drop down box of their own recent results.
With forums and classified ads and loads of news categories, Topix really flirts with feature overload. In the past, pages been too messy to use. This week’s relaunch is focused on some very helpful changes though and makes this powerful site easier to use. In fact, I’d say it’s gone from being almost unusable to being a uniquely powerful news search service.