23 Mar 2011

blekko: Slashing Search

Blekko is a new search engine focused on relevant searchThese days, there's a big push by the search engines to make search more relevant to users. Google has attempted to it with Caffeine, a tweaked search index designed to bring users more applicable content more quickly. Both Bing and Google have incorporated Facebook likes in search in efforts to help searchers better sift through search results using their own documented preferences, as well as that of their Facebook friends. But perhaps the most aggressive entrée in relevant search is blekko, a new search engine that allows users to “slash the web” in order to better find what they're looking for, and less of what they're not.

With blekko, searchers use slash tags (/) to help filter search results. Using already existing slashtags such as /like, which sifts search results by things you and your Friends have liked on Facebook, or /date, which displays only the most recent results on a topic, users can view results that best fit their needs. Blekko searches can also create custom slash tags simply by listing keywords, websites and even already existing slashtags to create the ideal pool of search results.

Moreover, blekko allows users to add context to searches in a way that isn't as simple as with other search engines. For instance, say you want to search for news about Libya from a politically conservative point-of-view. You would type in “Libya /conservative” to find results only from the right-leaning perspective. Or if you wanted to find the latest rumors on Miley Cyrus, you would search for “Miley Cyrus /gossip.”

Going beyond slashtags, blekko search seeks to be more cultivated than the competition. Using human moderators, blekko has painstakingly edited out websites deemed to be spam or otherwise low quality from its search results. In January, blekko announced the banishment of content farms, websites with a collection of low-quality marketing articles such as ehow.com and fixya.com.

Blekko has made more of an effort to be transparent about its search ranking algorithm than the often murky Google. Blekko provides data such as the number of inbound links to a website and their sources as well as when Blekko last crawled the content of a site.

Currently, about one to two million searches per day are conducted on blekko, which launched in November 2010. The slashing search engine recently entered the mobile market with apps for the iPhone and Android. Perhaps an advertising platform to gain revenue is in the works, though nothing has been confirmed.

Blekko is still a new player in the search world, and although we at CyberMark don't anticipate that it will take the place of Google, we feel it's definitely one to watch. We'll keep you posted on blekko and its impact on relevant search.

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