Rollyo Justin French 29 Sep 2005

20 comments Latest by Joe (Roll Your Own) is a perfect example of a web-based service that builds on the power and stability of established services, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel or tackle a market leader head-on.

It’s basically an interface to Yahoo’s own search engine, allowing you to narrow the search to a specific list of websites you know and trust. Instead of searching the web for “Ajax”, I rolled my own Ruby On Rails searchroll (as have many others) which limits Yahoo’s results to a few resources I’m interested in —,,,, etc. I can reuse this searchroll anytime I like, tag it and share it with others.

The interesting thing here is that they haven’t built a search engine — they’ve just built a better interface to one, focusing on a clear purpose, slick design and sense of community.

They’re still in beta, there’s a few kinks to iron out, and a few things “coming soon” (like the Dashboard Widget), but I’m already impressed.

20 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Glenn Davies 30 Sep 05

Very surprised that the boys at 37 are endorsing this product. The reason? It is based upon the Yahoo! index and frankly that makes the results suspect to say the least. The premise I admit is awesome, but one that is based upon the index of just one search engine and Yahoo! in particular, means this idea will have its share of problems.

Chris 30 Sep 05

So when and who do we think will buy them.

My Vote: Yahoo! - 14 months

Dan Hartung 30 Sep 05

Um, hand-waving by Glenn there. What, precisely, is “suspect” about Yahoo!’s index, particularly since they rebooted the thing with a reverse-engineered PageRank? If you’re talking about the linkspam problem, wouldn’t the use of a limited subset of searched sites … um … by my back-of-the-envelope calculation here … completely eliminate such concerns?

Jim Jeffers 30 Sep 05

This is a very fascinating application. Extremely easy to use and does everything I want. I don’t know much about why Yahoo’s index is suspect or unreliable. However, I would say I’ve always used Google instead of Yahoo and this app makes me feel comfortable using Yahoo over Google which says a lot.

Justin French 30 Sep 05

Glenn, I’m not part of 37signals, I’m just guest posting this month, but I really can’t see the guys (or myself) discriminating against a nice web service just because it uses Yahoo instead of Google. The fact is, Rollyo makes it easier to use Yahoo. Where’s the harm in that?

Jack 30 Sep 05

I participated in the Rollyo beta but I couldn’t really see the point of it. When I search, I want to find a url from somewhere I haven’t been.

Idea: What if they let me import an entire blogroll (say as a plain list or OPML) and they create a custom searchroll. Then I could find things that I’ve read before but couldn’t remember from where. (If Rollyo already does this, then shame on me for not finding it.)

Anonymous Coward 30 Sep 05

Oops…here’s the link.

Mary-Ann 30 Sep 05

Justin, you did a better job explaining Rollyo than they did themselves - I had a beta and gave up on it because I didn’t get it.

Anonymous Coward 30 Sep 05

“When I search, I want to find a url from somewhere I haven’t been.”

Really? I’m constantly using search engines to find things I’ve seen before, and I’m constantly using Google’s site: command to find things on a specific site. Rollyo is perfect for this stuff, or for searching for content in a trusted list of sites.

Of course, I have no idea what Rollyo’s business plan is, or how they’re going to make any money :)

Justin French 30 Sep 05

Ahhhh, the above comment was me.

Ryan 30 Sep 05

Somehow I got the impression that Yahoo was financing them, but now looking back over their site I can’t remember what gave me that impression. It would make sense for Yahoo to finance something like this.

Don Wilson 30 Sep 05

Indeed, I like the idea of the site as well.

David 30 Sep 05

The interesting thing here is that they haven’t built a search engine — they’ve just built a better interface to one, focusing on a clear purpose, slick design and sense of community.

Have they really? It seems like keeping your view narrow makes it harder to find emerging resources. I think my vote stays with on this one.

Peter 30 Sep 05

I searched for existing rolls on Ruby and couldn’t find any. As a newcommer to the language and Ruby on Railes (watch out!) having a roll with all the best reference sources setup would “rock my world”. Did you make one and how can I get to it??

Stephen S. 30 Sep 05

I like the idea of combining Rollyo and so each tag becomes a searchroll.

Justin French 30 Sep 05

David, I think there’s room for both. In fact, so do they. You can expand any search to “the web” at any time, and there’s nothing stopping me from using another search engine or resource (Google, whatever), for wider searches. Rollyo works as advertised, but perhaps there’s no demand for what they’re selling?

Peter Cooper 01 Oct 05

I’m interested as to how Yahoo! is involved in this one too. I might be wrong, but isn’t the Yahoo API for non-commercial usage? Is there a chance Yahoo could pull the plug on Rollyo for overuse, etc?

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