Topix is topical

J.D. Lasica has turned me on to a great new news and media search engine — Topix.

Do I want the latest news from my old home town of El Cajon, Calif. Well, I just type in one of my old zip codes, and I have my own El Cajon news page — something SignOn San Diego doesn’t provide for me.

And it even provides other useful links, such as links to the San Diego Chargers and San Diego Padres, and the local weather, too boot.

What if my interest is not geographical, but topical. Let’s say I want to keep up on the latest news related to Britney Spears? Well, here’s my link. Honestly, I’m more interested in Dwight Yoakam or Elvis Costello, and while the news may not be as deep, it’s still there.

Nothing on Howard Owens, Ken Layne or Matt Welch, but type in Glenn Reynolds, and you get “blog news.”

You can also do cool topics like Aerospace-Defense, or Water Utilities, or Autos, but not UFOs, sadly. But you can do Journalism.

And the way URLs are constructed — this is the cool part — you can create a whole series of custom bookmarks for yourself. I don’t see where Topix is offering personalization yet, but if you know a little HTML, you can throw together your own bookmark page to check your favorite topics every day. I know I will.

Topix has Google beat hands down for home-page relevance of the latest stories, and it’s focus on topic-drive searches takes a level higher on usability.

The site’s focus on providing local news should give a little fright to online news publishers.

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