Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Blekko vs. Google

Move over, Google! There is a new search engine in town: Blekko, like Google, may not have the prettiest name, is creating interest with its human moderated search results. Blekko uses a slashtag system of searching to filter out spam and may well challenge Google. The site has been in beta-testing and, according to a NY Times article, A New Search Engine, Where Less Is More, it differs from other search engines by seeking to filter out spam-like sites which often list unhelpful results at the top of the result list. Blekko editors have identified research areas that are vulnerable to spam results (health and medical information, recipes, cars, travel, song lyrics, finance and college searching). Nothing so far about legal research using search engines which are often populated with a great deal of lawyer advertising. Blekko’s “slashtag” search option allows users to filter irrelevant results as shown in this comparison at Search Engine Land. Without many of the features such as advanced search and case law, the new search engine is no match for Google for now. But it allows a choice between seeing search results ordered by relevance or by date. The default choice is /relevance. Select /date and the results will be ordered by keyword match with the most recent results shown first, and no relevance weighting given to the search terms.

Rich Skrenta, the CEO of Blekko, described as ”wikipedia meets search” said: “Today is the first step in a process of building a volunteer army at Blekko that will eventually slash spam from search and deliver the most relevant results.” The new search engine uses slashtags to give queries more specified results. A slashtag will allow Blekko to search a specific part of the internet. A Huffington Post article, Blekko Search Engine to Rely on the Human Touch uses a search for information about the iPad to illustrate the difference. Instead of querying "iPad," adding the slashtag "AppleBlogs" (typing in "iPad/AppleBlogs") returns search results from a limited set of sites. Without using the slashtag, the top five results for "iPad" returned by Blekko are from Apple.com, CrunchBase.com, Wikipedia, Engadget, and CNET. By comparison, using the slashtag "AppleBlogs," the top five results are from TUAW.com, TheAppleBlog.com, MacRumors.com, TUAW.com, and MacNN.com. The same search with Google lists the top results from Apple.com, Wikipedia, CNET, and CrunchGear.com.

Here is a Vimeo video from Blekko that explains their slashtag system.

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