There's no question that search engines are really useful tools. If you need to learn more about a vacation destination or if the sports bar down the street serves great burgers, a quick query into your favorite search engine will probably pull up the info you need straight away. But when it comes to reading the latest breaking news and blog posts about a particular subject, search engines aren't always the most effective tool at your fingertips.
That was the thought that spurred Will Mayall, Kathryn Henkens and Guy Kawasaki to create Alltop in March, 2008. They formed a company named Nononina and began to design a Web site that could aggregate news items from their favorite Web sites and blogs. A visitor to Alltop could choose a specific topic and then see the latest headlines from dozens of sources organized on a single page.
The difference between Alltop and an RSS reader service like Google Reader is that the pages focus on topics and sources rather than just news providers. Instead of subscribing to a source like The New York Times' technology section to learn more about what Apple is up to, you can search for the topic "Apple" on Alltop and see the most recent headlines from dozens of sources. You get access to relevant news without having to scan through everything else.
In a way, Mayall, Henkens and Kawasaki have waded through the search results on these topics for you to separate the virtual wheat from the digital chaff. In other words, you no longer have to sort through dozens of responses to weed out irrelevant links.
Let's take a look at how Nononina organized Alltop.