As I was performing my daily Mashable scan (#socialmediarules), I came across something called Blekko. “What’s a Blekko,” I asked myself. Not unlike last year when I posed the question, “What’s a Bieber?” Surprisingly, both questions had complex answers.
Just like The Bieber, Blekko has several intricate layers. From the outside, it just looks just like another search engine (SNOOZE! Haven’t we seen enough of those come and go??) However, if you take just a few moments to delve deeper, you’ll find that Blekko is much more than another little engine whistling, “I think I can.”
Blekko is indeed a search engine at the core, but it attempts to do much more than pull results for queries. It introduces the idea of search filters, but on a much more granular level than boring standard Google filters like Places, Images, etc. Pfffttt. The original intent of these Blekko filters was to eliminate spam, in addition to retrieving more relevant search results. However, I think they have created something much larger than just an anti-spam search engine.
Blekko took the simple punctuation of a slashtag and created a whole product. Blekko users take slashtags and use them to filter their queries. For example, entering “Justin Bieber / date” into the query box will yield results that are in chronological order, giving you the most updated results first. Entering “Justin Bieber / gossip/ date” will yield the most current gossip results. I mean…that’s totally a hypothetical search query….
Going one step further, Blekko acts as a Wiki and a Social platform. Mind blown, right? It fulfills these roles with those simple little slashtags. Once you sign up with Blekko, or sign in using your Facebook account, you can create your own profile to invent slashtags to suit your personal search needs. For instance, I could create my own slashtag, / Ryan Gosling, and make my online obsession much more manageable. Once I create a slashtag, I can list popular sites that also really love Ryan Gosling, and keywords associated with this overlooked Oscar nominee. This will allow Blekko to truly customize your frequent searches, and make it so much easier to image stalk hypothetical celebrity boyfriends. It’s hypothetical, OK??
You can either choose to make your personal slashtags private, or allow other Blekko editors to make adjustments (let your freak flag fly!). Not just anyone can be a Blekko editor; you need to apply, which makes the experience much more valuable. With this idea in place, Blekko could very well blow up into the Wikipedia of search and accomplish what Mahalo has been attempting to become for the last few years — the human search engine.
Diving into a deeper level, Blekko’s SERPs provide more than just a title and description of a site. In fact, they provide a lot more. For every result Blekko gives you the following options:
These functions allow you to share information across your social network, view the cached version of a site, identify an I.P address, grab company info, and even tag the site as spam (which will prevent it from ever showing up in your search results again.) And all that information is all laid out on the table, no strings attached (surprisingly cute movie.)
The most interesting feature to me, a little SEO content geek with a penchant for The Gos, is that Blekko is making SEO analytics available to everyone, provided you understand the data. With the click of a button you can instantly grab a list of inbound and outbound links, how many pages lie within the site, page rank, duplicate data, and more. It’s all wrapped up in easy-to-read charts and graphs, creating an increased sense of optimization awareness amongst internet search plebeians. To those who do search marketing all day, this is a fun new tool.
Blekko begs a lot of questions for me. In the most general sense, I get the feeling that Google has become too big. Ever since Columbus, Magellan, and now Zuckerberg, Page, and Brin, the world has been exponentially expanding in scope, size, people, and information. However, when I see sites like Blekko, it makes me wonder if the manifest destiny days are done. Are we now so saturated with “stuff” that we need to find new ways of breaking it down? Blekko’s slashtags and convenient accessibility of information is certainly taking search in that direction.
I might not yet be a total Blekko convert, but to Google, I have one thing to say. In the words of Bieber, “And I wanna play it cool, but I’m losin’ you.”