From the Web 2.0 Conference (a bit late, sorry about that):
The blog search service Sphere is adding a feature called Sphere It. This is a widget that Web publishers (bloggers and "traditional" Web content sites, too) can put on their sites to automatically find blog posts related to their stories. It's easier to show than to explain. Click this:
Sphere also has a bookmarklet version of Sphere It that you can use on any site you visit.
Robert Scoble is not impressed, saying it doesn't find relevant articles. I've seen mixed results on other Sphere-using sites, such as TechCrunch and MarketWatch. Occasionally, the tool comes up empty or returns tangential results. But when it works right, and finds stories on the same topic as the one you are reading, it can really help you understand the larger context of the topic. Our compatriots at ZDNet Blogs are also using Sphere It.
Related reading links like these add a lot to the online experience, but they're hard for writers to create. Not only is it time-consuming to find good links, it's impossible to keep up with all the new stories and blog posts as they are published. This tool releases writers from running around after related links, and it should make it much easier for people to follow evolving opinions on topics they care about. Sphere also gives bloggers credibility on mainstream sites, such as MaketWatch, which is a good thing for blogs overall.
I expect that I'll click Sphere It buttons when I see them on stories I am very interested in. Would you make a habit of clicking Sphere It buttons, or are you already up to your eyeballs in content? In other words, should we add this feature to the Webware blog?