BuzzFeed's new Pop Culture Search Engine brings with it an algorithm that uses hotness and viral acceleration to rank results. It scours our 160M uniques of partner sites (including: Time, Huffington Post, Aol, College Humor, TMZ, etc.) for hottest results to your pop culture queries. Take a look at the results below for Lady Gaga:
The little red boxes on the thumbnails display the viral lift (views driven from third-party sources relative to in-site traffic) that the stories have seen.
160M uniques is big, but it's not nearly as big as a traditional search engine. With that said, if you're looking for the most shared articles on a "hot topic," BuzzFeed Search will probably yield much better results than a traditional engine. While we're on the topic of hot topics, you might be interested in checking out a very alpha version of our completely algorithmically generated HOT Page.
Our search results look primarily at social traffic as an indicator of "quality," which is more or less an un-gameable ranking criteria. And, so, what we have is a verticalized search engine, focussed exclusively on the most current, hot, and shared pop culture content. If you want to find "the hottest" or "most viral" article on Lady Gaga or a particular story making the rounds, BuzzFeed search is probably your best place to look.
From a publisher standpoint, we're bubbling up your most shared content into our search results - the stories that are voted by sharing to be your best, most loved, and most relevant content. We think this is a natural way to index and rank timely content, and we hope that if you're a publisher you'll consider joining our network and getting into our results. Just contact us at partners AT buzzfeed DOT com.
Our network continues to expand as we add more and more publishers each month, so you can continually expect the scope of search results to increase. Further, we're tweaking our algorithm to diversify the publisher mix in each set of results (Right now, one publisher can sometimes dominate results.) We'll also be launching some site redesigns in the coming months to further integrate search and algorithmic hot listings into the front page.