Here’s a new one on me: age-relevant search. A site called cRANKy (TM) is specifically designed for the silver surfer. On its home page is a list of the most popular search items among the over-50s:
1. Sex; 2. longevity calculator; 3. sudoku; 4. eat healthy; 5. jobs after retirement; etc. I suppose they just made these up, as there is no information about how they arrived at these numbers or, indeed, how they know that the people doing the searching are over 50. I didn’t try it out so I don’t know if the speed of search is also age-related (i.e. slow and creaky).
If you go to the cranky site, though, you can find all kinds of things that over-50s are said to be interested in, complete with picture of smiling couple with white hair and lots of ads for anti-ageing devices of various kinds.
Vox, Typepad’s "other" blogging service, is getting positive comments in the media: see here for Vox in the New York Times – Team Vox, and here for a Wired piece. Vox does indeed have some very nice features: the design is good, it is very simple to add pictures (eg book covers from Amazon), video and audio to your blog posts, and so on. I find it perfect as an archive of books I’ve read and of my reviews. However, you can’t have a blogroll (yet?); this inability to link to anyone outside "your Vox neighbourhood" strikes me as a serious limitation for my own type of use.
But as the articles above explain, Vox is aiming for a different type of user — the group, which can now be a private one. Family journals and that kind of thing, which you don’t want the world to see — I suppose the business model is that you graduate to Vox when you grow out of the teenagery LiveJournal for your social network "club", and maybe also have a standard "individual" Typepad blog or two as well.
There are certainly a lot of these social-network sites around now since the early days of Flickr, MySpace and so on. The crime-fiction site I wrote about the other day, Crimespace, seems pretty good. I haven’t done anything on it yet apart from log my name, location and URL, but the other members of the group are sending me "friends" invites, and from these, they seem to comprise a mix of authors and enthusiastic readers of crime fiction. If I ever get the time, I could more easily envisage becoming an "active member" of Crimespace than I could imagine setting up or joining a Vox group, as there aren’t any available (yet?) that I can find that interest me. If Crimespace had chosen Vox instead of Ning as its provider, that would be another story. But for now, if I do any social networking at all outside Petrona and its universe (as the marketeers say) of blogs with overlapping interests, the elegant Crimespace is top of my list.