How distorted is Twitter's view of the world? That question is neatly answered by Topsy, a new search engine that's like Google, except sorted by the attention-deficit-disorder sufferers who live on Twitter.
Topsy launched last night. Its trick — ranking Web pages based on their popularity within Twitter — works awfully well for searches related to technology and breaking news. But it also effectively illustrates just what is important to Twitter's young and overcaffeinated users.
Who is Barack Obama? Why, he's that guy who recorded an audiobook with lots of funny swear words!
Chile is a mall in the Southern Hemisphere, recently blessed by the Jonas Brothers with an awesome concert.
Afghanistan is known primarily for a pig flu outbreak.
John McCain is an old guy whose speech was interrupted by a music video.
Topsy is useful enough that it's starting to look like maybe a big deal. Good for it! But here's to hoping it never replaces Google.com.