Blekko Making a Name for Itself

Many people may find fault with Blekko’s name, but the search engine is gaining attention for other reasons. The “slash the web” engine markets itself as a much more efficient search method. Users can make more targeted searches using slashtags, and Blekko combs through data collected from the searchers’ Facebook friends in order to produce more personal, targeted results. Blekko has quietly grown a good following and just recently got a boost of Hollywood cool, helping social search come into the limelight.

Ashton Kutcher recently invested $200,000 in the search engine, which launched in November. An avid Twitter user, Kutcher’s endorsement does help enhance the social aspect of Blekko’s identity, and that is vital. Mike Markson, Blekko’s chief marketing officer, says, “When somebody reads an article, or “likes” the site itself, that is somebody giving a quality vote – especially when it’s somebody that you know. That is a social vote which is saying, ‘This is a good-quality site; this isn’t spam.” That is really Blekko’s claim to fame: less spam and fewer irrelevant results.

While Google is a ubiquitous term in the search world, it is not “social.” This is becoming increasingly important as the popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter grow. And it is important because as search engines mature, they begin to behave in more similar ways. Or so says Stephen Wolfram, developer of search engine Wolfram Alpha.

Wolfram put Blekko, Ask, Bing, Google, Wikipedia Search, and Yandex through the paces by asking 200,000 Jeopardy questions. They performed in very similar ways and most did a good job. Wolfram says, “It shows us that the more mature search systems are getting to be remarkably similar in their raw performance – so that other aspects of user experience…are likely to become progressively more important.” Blekko, Microsoft’s upcoming Montage, and Wolfram Alpha, which answers queries directly and computing data in a structured way, offer something more to enhance the user’s experiment.

These search engines may not compete on the level that Google does, but they do bring something to the search world that has been lacking.

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