surchur does have a 'real time board' that pops up hot topics and catching fire resources. However, I'm not entirely impressed with their options. 'Laptop', 'china' and 'miley cyrus' I can understand, and can always do a mouseover to see context. However, that context isn't related to one single thing - content for 'laptop' for example refers to an Engadget blog, an article on how to find a cheap laptop and so on. Simply because lots of people are talking generally about a subject doesn't really make it a hot topic in my book. Another example or two: 'white' and 'fox'. Meaningless. Even mouseover the word doesn't help that much. Catching fire topics are little better. There is little, or any distinction between newsworthy content (of which I found next to nothing) and silly hashtags such as 'dontyouhatewhen'. This is not news, it's not information, it's a waste of my time surchur! (The mouseover element is also interesting, since it's actually static. You see information, but you can't actually click on it at all - a criticism I had back in August. Move the mouse too enthusiastically and poof! you've lost the box.)
surchur can of course argue that they're simply reflecting current trends. However, what I expect from a solid, reliable resource is the ability to differentiate between the real news and a friviolous hashtag.
Individual searches I'm happier with. Type in your search, get related surches (sic), see popular content, or content from blogs, social web, news, video, pictures, products or quotes. I really like the quotes option a lot, although sometimes I did just get a whole series of tweets which didn't actually help me that much. I can also vote up or vote down results, and can comment on them. Now, while I *can* do that, I'm not entirely sure why I'd *want* to do that. I'm a librarian/searcher, and I want information to use, not spend time playing around with it. Sorry if that sounds a little harsh, but that's the way that it is. I'm sure it's a great function for other people (although I'd question how social this is), but it's of limited value as a searcher, in my opinion.
It's worth comparing the results on surchur with those on Socialmention which provide me with a useful grid of strength, sentiment, passion and reach, average mentions, last mention, unique authors, positive/negative/neutral comments, top keywords, top users, top hashtags, AND the ability to sort by date, source and postrank AND limit to specific time periods.
Let's try Collecta as well. Their 'hot right now' includes Google broadband, iPad, Final Four, Healthcare Reform, Moscow Subway Bombing. The links change while I watch. surchur hasn't moved. When searching using Collecta users can limit to stories, comments, updates, photographs or video, or any combination thereof. Results are 2 column, with comments/tweets etc in the middle (search options are on the left) with the actual content appearing in the right hand pane. And I can click on the link and visit the original source, quickly and easily (which to be fair I can do with surchur). Interestingly, Collecta continues to monitor real time content while I'm looking at results, pulling in things for me to look at on a regular basis. That's real time search!
Let's move onto IceRocket. This doesn't have a 'what's hot' option, so surchur wins out on that count. However, when I run a search on the Big Buzz option, Icerocket pulls in data from blogs, Twitter, video and images on a single blended page. I did a search on both IceRocket and surchur for a tweet that I'd run 45 minutes earlier. Icerocket found it, surchur didn't. (It was for a fairly odd term as well, so no chance that it would lost in a flood.) Furthermore, Big Buzz auto refreshes, every 1,3,5 minutes (or not at all) to the users preference.
So surchur - what would I like you to do? Quite a lot actually. Sharpen up the trending topics, preferably to compete with Icerockets 1 minute option. Provide RSS feeds for my searches - I want data to come to me, I don't want to come to your site to fetch it. I want a help screen to see what searches I can do. You need to learn about Boolean operators - a search for cat NOT dog means that I don't want results with dog in them!
OK, so I took the challenge. How'd I do?
Edited to add an emailed response from surchur:
"Thank you for the review, we appreciate every single feedback and it's
nice to see what people actually like and where improvement is
By the way, you mentioned the RSS feeds, every search has RSS feed and also check the Extras feature, there are some other RSS options well.
All in all, to answer your question, you did great on the challenge."
Thank you and hope to keep getting your constructive feedback in the future as well - especially as we still have 2 more challenges to launch."
I'm very happy to put the record straight on the RSS option, and appreciate the way that surchur took my criticisms. I'm looking forward to their next challenges!