Part of what differentiates blogging from print media is the option to link to external Web sites to offer readers additional information--something you just can't do as easily in a newspaper or magazine. While the Internet is also known as the World Wide Web, in terms of blog links, things end up looking more like nested hierarchies. A new search engine called Walk2Web aims to let users explore these hierarchies as part of an interesting visual journey, that lets you see where each blog is linking.
To begin, just enter a URL. It can be an entire site URL, or just the URL from an individual blog post. From there, Walk2Web scours the site, pulling up any links; they then show up as an offshoot of your first blog. You can click on any of the other displayed links to continue exploring. Each link bubble is color-coded, for incoming and outgoing links. There's also a computer voice that will read off each link to you when you click it (this can be turned off if it bothers you).
Each link gets its own preview window with a screen shot, along with social tools such as Reddit-styled, plus-and-minus buttons so you can rate the site, and the option to save to your personal favorites or to post to popular services such as Del.icio.us, Digg, and StumbleUpon. If you've registered with Walk2Web, you can go back and view these links later. There's also a screen saver and toolbar for IE and Firefox.
For the most part, this service is incredibly fast. The only slowdowns I ran into were with page previews, or with sites that seemed not to link anywhere. My only usage quibble is having to navigate around links once they've grown too big for the screen. The service uses a four-way controller, which is a pain. If they could use an interface similar to Google Maps--with dragging and scroll-wheel zooming--I'd definitely come back to use it again.