Jason Calacanis has relaunched "human search engine" Mahalo as a gigantic blog targeting news that drives traffic in any vertical.
The new Mahalo adopts the magazine style layout currently popular in the blogosophere, aggregating news stories in a layout that is part Google News. There's even a "live blog" right of screen, which is updated with links to breaking news outside of Mahalo by members of the Mahalo team.
When Ask.com relaunched last week and we discussed the similarities to Mahalo, the biggest difference I noted then was that Mahalo offered stale, out of date links, vs Ask.com offering the latest content. This hasn't really been addressed by these changes, at least with the search results. Our example before was the Mahalo page for Angelina Jolie being woefully out of date with news links, and that is still the case today. Instead Mahalo has switched to a blog content first model that creates new entries (really blog posts) for big stories, rich with keywords, then uses the original search pages for contextual links within each post.
Mahalo has been slowly moving toward becoming a blog now for some time, having already abandoned its focus on quality search results, instead offering comment and content with those results. That the site has seemingly abandoned its search starting point may speak poorly of the model to start with, but Calacanis is the sort of guy who is'nt afraid to change direction if things aren't working, and he wealth of experiencing in blogging that will help Mahalo establish itself as a leading blog. Certainly numbers from Compete and Alexa show Mahalo flat-lining (Quantcast shows growth to the end of August...and then a drop), so kudos to Jason for taking the plunge and trying something new.
(in part via Cnet)