Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]
Here today in Palo Alto, startup Blekko just demoed the latest and greatest version of their upcoming search engine; it was an impressive event.
The company has generated significant interest over the last few months as it has garnered coverage from several technology outlets. Today the CEO took the product for a public test drive, and we got our best look yet into just what the company is cooking up in the last 3 years.
Of course, the search market could not be more a difficult place to do business, especially for a company with an odd name like Blekko. Not only are Google and Microsoft battling for marketshare with billion dollar budgets, but the war in the space is so hot that even Yahoo is dodging the load.
So what is Blekko’s secret sauce? For starters, they are not trying to kill Google, or so they say. If that is true will become clearer over the next year, but for now the company is looking to execute searches that you “can’t do anywhere else.” The engine focuses on ‘slashtags’ that allow users to search with a certain perspective.
Want to search the internet from a conservative perspective? You can do that. Want do search the web from a Christian view, you can do that too. While Google and Bing want to be the world’s best vanilla search engine, Blekko wants to do the opposite and bring you results with an opinion.
Will consumers use it? If the product when it launches is as interesting as the demo was today, then it has a shot. Every website that has a certain view (DailyKos, the WSJ, FoxNews, etc) is going to want to use Blekko to spoon-feed their readers what they want to see.
The company claims to have hundreds of slashtags, and will allow users to help build new ones once the company is out in the public.
Blekko’s biggest problem is that its basic search results, that it then bends, are not yet top notch. That should improve over time as their coding team has more time to develop and tweak. As Blekko solves that problem, and expands its slashtag idea, they could have a hit on their hands.
Last thought? The company shares its search data that it collects on the sites in its index, meaning that you can dig through reams of fascinating data for free, on nearly every site you could care to. That alone means that I will be on the site.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.