It’s a widely acknowledged fact that the primary purpose of Google’s +1s and Google Plus itself was to get what facebook has. User data. Why? Better search.
It’s been clear for quite some time, that having an awesome algorithm, with high levels of complexity, does no more mean better search results.
Well, in today’s semantic web, ranking search uniformly for every one on the planet is just dumb. Google has some filters that help this cause, like the location filter, which will let you search for a famous restaurant nearby and not blindly serve you with the most famous hotel on the other side of the world. But the fact remains that your search engine doesn’t know you enough. It will make you eat sushi when you want Chinese. That’s sad.
Facebook. Facebook knows what you like. Facebook knows where you live. Facebook knows your age/sex. Heck, it knows what you are doing now. [ That’s with the help of new timeline apps using the open graph ]. And it also knows who you are friends with, and all of their likes. To sum it up, Facebook knows you, in person, as it does 800 million other people.
So, what is blekko, and where does it fit in?
To start with, it’s a new search engine, that focused more on people than algorithms. It has a smaller index that’s limited to quality sites [ slashing out spam, malware and content farms is its primary motto ]. And has a feature called ‘slashing’, which does exactly that. The site has a database of slashtags that are even smaller indexes, to make your searches even more relevant.
You could search for ‘New Delhi /travel‘ to search in the travel index for New Delhi.
Some slashtags are computer generated, and some are user generated. There are also built-in slashtags like /date to sort the results by date. But, what we are interested in is /likes.
If you search for anything under the /likes tag, what you will be doing is searching for that term in an index consisting of your and your friends likes [ you need to connect your facebook account first! ]. So, if you were wanting to go to a new place to eat, before asking all your facebook friends for suggestions, search ‘restaurants /likes’ on blekko, and it will do just that, without annoying them, and you might get a better answer.
The service is pretty immature, as it is in a beta stage and under development. But a nice alternative, if you are tired of asking Google.
Other cool things on the site:
Grep the web: Searching the entire web for patterns. Some of the results are interesting.
Slashtag of the day: Self explanatory!
This is a video of the CEO of blekko explaining, blekko!