One reason I used panda as my search term for trying out Technorati is because the phrase "Technorati Panda" just sounds good, like the words naturally go together. Actually, it sounds like some high-tech panda toy. But really, my search did yield an interesting result. First, I just did the search in the main "Search the Blogosphere" box, and the results were definately not promising. For example, the second result was an interview with someone called "the Weakonomist" and the only reason it showed up in the results was that the person conducting the interview is from "Green Panda Treehouse" which has nothing to do with the animals. And the third result was in another language, so I couldn't tell if the blog entry had anything to do with pandas at all.
Needless to say, I was very happy with the boxes at the top of the results screen which allow you to filter your results. I limited the results to "tags only" and "In English" and did get one result concerning pandas, although a lot were about a sofware company named Panda. I got a few more about the animal when limiting to results with a lot of authority. Interestingly, of the four results about pandas in videos, three were about the animal.
Being able to filter the results made a big difference, like the difference in the library catalog between doing a keyword and subject search. Of course the analogy is not exact, since there is no controlled language for tags on blogs, like there is for subject heading in the catalog, but I find it interesting that even without controlled language, the tags do a lot of good in pointing you toward what a blog is "about."
I couldn't find an explanation for how Technorati decides which blogs have authority and which don't, but assuming there is some good logic behind their decisions, this is a great feature! One of the big problems with helping patrons (or even myself) find info on the web is trying to decide how unbiased and authoritative websites are that you have never seen before. And it seems like this problem would be even greater for blogs, since they are used more for presenting ideas and random thoughts than are most web pages, which tend to be used for presenting information about a topic. So it is good to know that Technorati is out there rating blogs by how authoritative they are, because that makes me more likely to introduce and use blogs as a source of information to patrons and myself.