What is Topix?Topix is a combination news search engine and news aggregator. According to the site, "Topix.net is the Internet's largest news site, with over 360,000 topically based, micro-news pages presenting stories from more than 10,000 sources." Compare that to Google News, arguably Topix's biggest competitor with "only" 4,500 sources at the time of this writing.
How does Topix work?You've probably noticed that there are a lot of news sources on the Web, and each one of them is reporting a lot of news stories. How are these news stories categorized? Most are sorted by date, or by keyword relevance, or by general subject area. Topix takes a unique approach.
Topix News SortingFirst, any news story from the over 10,000 sources that Topix monitors is "geo-coded", or sorted by date and location. Then the stories are processed by content and placed on the over 300,000 Topix.net pages, including "separate pages for the 30,000 US cities and towns, 5,500 public company and industry verticals, 48,000 celebrities and musicians, 1,500 sports teams and personalities, and many, many more." So, if you were looking for a story about the upcoming ice skating competition in Hoboken, New Jersey, you would find this story profiled on the Hoboken Local page and the topical Ice Skating page.
Topix Home PageOne thing I did right away was simply type in my zip code on the Topix home page. The search bar is located front and center at the top of your browser window, with various top news stories in the middle column, paid ads to the right-hand corner, "channels" (basically subjects or topics) to your immediate left, then Live Feeds, my zip code saved as a search, RSS feeds, and top news from all the channels in various places on the front page. This sounds cluttered, but thanks to the simple design, it's really not.
Topix News SearchThe general search bar will work for most searches, but if you would like to really narrow down your searches, you'll want to take a look at Topix Advanced Search. Here you're given the option to restrict your searches to specific sources (i.e., only Fox News), restrict to zip code or city, restrict to a specific category in Topix's list of categories, restrict to specific countries, or set a time restriction.
Features of TopixRight off the bat I loved that Topix returned my local small town news just by my zip code, including the fact that our coffee shop just installed free wireless for customers. In addition, Recent Pages keeps track of where you've been on Topix, and My Searches keeps track of- you guessed it-your searches.
You can also add Topix to your web site with the cool newschannel headline box (even can pick your colors), or add news widgets that "provides multiple opportunities for others to add value to their own web-site through Topix.net's targeted news."
Why Should I Use Topix?I was intrigued by the sheer numbers of sources that Topix covers, and the vast amount of pages that Topix is able to maintain. Categories seem to be well-sorted and are relevant to the stories placed within them - I especially am a fan of the Offbeat news category. Lastly, Topix makes it relatively easy for you to find specific news stories; you just have to get kind of creative with your search queries.
Note: Search engines change frequently, so the information in this article can and will get outdated as more information or features about news search engine Topix are released. Be sure to check About Web Search for more updates as they become available.