Rich Skrenta, the geek who sold major shares of his own local search engine for more than $10million to a bunch of newspaper companies has finally come up with a greater idea: a search engine that would make Google shake.
Rich, a former Engineer at Sun Microsystems, attracted angels and venture capitalists who backed him with $24million for the search engine known as Blekko. Despite the rise and death of the many search engine ideas(including Yahoo), they must have been convinced that this new approach to searching for content on the web will change a lot of things. But how?
What makes Blekko different from Google? Is Blekko really a threat to Google?
The simple answer: Blekko is a system that allows users to sift through their search based on the relevance of THEIR OWN SEARCH TERMS. Google’s page ranking algorithm chose how search results were displayed on its own. This algorithm ensured that the first search results depended on how popular a topic is, how many links are attached to a search item etc. Blekko however allows you to determine relevance based on a ‘slashtag system’. This means if you want to search for hotels in Nigeria, rather than the regular google query you may have put ‘good hotels in nigeria‘, you can put ‘nigeria /hotels’. Try searching for Seye Kuyinu by searching ‘Seye Kuyinu /people’. Then try it the other way ‘Seye Kuyinu’. You will notice how refined the search is.
In essence, Blikko will be yet another tool for SEO’s to consider. Blekko offers some really great SEO metrics at the click of a mouse. For every search result there is an SEO tab that displays pie charts, metrics, and other useful information based on search results.
All good and fine, Blekko is going to change the way we search. However, I don’t believe it is a threat to Google. Neither do industry experts. The guys who should be scared are Bing. Microsoft Bing plans to introduce ‘social search’, as search results will be influenced by what your Facebook friends ‘like’,’unlike’ or …dislike. Thanks to Microsoft’s huge partnership with Facebook.
Rich Skrenta has a good track record working with Search. His Open Directory project (that site may have been fine in the 90s) competed hand in hand with Yahoo in the late 90’s and was later bought by Netscape. He recently sold out Topix, the human edited news search site.
What are we searching for anyways?