Blekko: The Newest Rival To Google?
Blekko, the newest search engine to be considered a possible threat to Google, finally launched their Beta version this week, after more than three years in development. The so-called ‘social search’ engine, which was founded by Rich Skrenta (former CEO of community site Topix), aims to provide more relevant and targeted search results by allowing users to take part in the search experience.
The site works in a similar manner to Wikipedia; allowing a considerable network of volunteers and moderators to eliminate spam and malware sites from the search engine index. To help increase the relevance of returned results, users can create ‘slashtags’ for topics that they like or they find interesting, allowing them to collaborate with other slashtag users to minimise non-relevant results. The slashtags appear very similar to the hashtags used on Twitter to focus discussion around a particular area, and Blekko hope this approach will return far more relevant results to the user.
For example, let’s say you wanted to search for the record label Domino; a Google search for this term would likely reveal results containing at least one wiki page on the game of dominoes, several results for the pizza outlet and potentially one result relevant to what you’re looking for. If you were using Blekko, you could use the slashtag “Domino/music” which should return results far more relevant to what you’re after.
Whilst this may indeed provide more relevant results, it doesn’t appear any different to using a longer-tail search on Google (Domino Record Label), which would return exactly what you were looking for.
Despite this however, Blekko insist that their user-refined results will return far less in the way of spam and malware sites, which has been a reasonably consistent issue with certain Google search terms.
“We’re really using the Wikipedia model,” said Mike Markson, Blekko’s vice president of marketing, “you bring people in and log everything so people can watch what other people are doing and can flag suspicious entries someone makes”.