Europe-Focused Blog Search Engine Twingly Goes Into Private Beta

Twingly, the Europe-focused blog search engine that I wrote about in January, has just entered private beta. You can sign up for an invitation on the home page, or go here for an instant invitation (the first 2,000 get in).

Twingly has a number of features that make it an attractive engine. First, they have a “no spam” search that only queries blogs that are known to Twingly to be actual, real, blogs. This is a white list approach that returns fewer results since most blogs are not included, but spam is virtually wiped out. Twingly currently has 450,000 approved blogs on the white list and is adding another 1,000 per day.

Instead of trying to index every blog in existence and then removing spam via black lists and other methods, they are limiting the blogs they monitor to those that are proven to be legitimate. They started with a small list of known blogs, and then spidered out from there based on links to other blogs. The assumption, which is fairly sound, is that good/real blogs will not link to spam blogs. The end result is a white list of real blogs that are indexed – everything else is ignored.

Searches can be ranked by date (which is standard for blog search), by number of inbound links (the equivalent of Technorati authority) or by TwinglyRank, which is “a combination of keyword relevancy, number of inlinks, number of user recommendations, publishing date and time and some secret sauce.” Users can also perform language specific searches in any of 29 supported languages (they track another 31, but not accurately enough to deploy yet).

Twingly already has a product – a nifty screen saver that shows blog posts on a world map as they are written. The new search engine will use some of the back end technology they’ve developed for the screen saver – mainly their ping server (see here for our overview of what ping servers are) and existing index of blogs.

Founder Martin Källström says that, in addition to the consumer-facing search engine, they’ll partner with large content news sites to show blog posts related to news content. This is something both Sphere and Technorati have had success with in the past, and the company can do revenue-sharing deals on additional page views. Content providers like it because it incentivizes blogs to link to their content (to get a link back). Twingly may not be able to compete with Sphere and Technorati in getting U.S. based partners, but he says he already has 44 live with large European publishers, generating 100 m widget views per month.

The company has raised €1 million in a July 2007 round of financing from Servisen. They have seven employees. Look for a launch of their search engine in the next month or two.