To many the name Blekko doesn’t ring any bells, but to people that work in the search and digital industry it should. In case you work in the digital industry and you don’t know what Blekko is, let me tell you: it’s a search engine.
It’s not a very popular engine, especially because it’s still in beta. This is probably due to the fact that it doesn’t provide relevant results outside US.
Blekko has been in development since 2007, but it has become available to the public fairly recently, just after Cuil disappeared. And guess what Cuil (pronounced “cool”) is? It’s another search engine, created by ex Googlers, IBM and Altavista and Ebay Search veterans.
Cuil was quite innovative when it has been proposed. A different 3 columns layout of the SERPs, thumbnails for each result, less spam. However it looks like this hasn’t been enough to justify stakeholders to continue to invest in the project, which received roughly $50m in funding. And in fact after few months of run the engine literally disappeared.
But I’m not meant talking about Cuil today, rather than Blekko.
What makes Blekko really different from Cuil and Google?
We all know that one of the biggest problems of Google is the quality of the result. Since day one, Google has been founded on the concept of link recognition, which is ultimately the same principle used today even if they made quite a lot of changes into their algorithm.
Google also is a “horizontal” search engine of the results, so lets you search for virtually everything, but when it comes to narrowing results, unless you are not mastering the operators or you would like to have the advanced search a go, there is no way to extract vertical information only.
For those not familiar with the term vertical search engine is one that lets you search in a specific area of interest; pretty much what Google News does or what Blekko is trying to do by its new innovative system based on slashtag.
What are my thoughts?
As slashtags will allow users to search results only through high quality sites, without spam or content farms, it is evident the effort required by the company to create a trusted data source is something of primary importance. This will require huge investments and a number of experts across over the world to allow them to excel.
I’m confident a cash injection of $30m provided by companies like Yandex, plus the grant to Blekko to get acces to the pool of combined resources offered by Yandex should help Blekko move closer to its goal of obtaining one percent of all US search traffic.