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Slashing the web with blekko

November 20, 2010

I thought it was just another search engine trying to be like Google, but after watching the video about blekko I realized it has more to offer than the typical search.

In a nutshell, blekko introduces slashtags which allow you to filter your search and get relevant web results minus the spam sites.   An example of a search query using a slashtag is “ /youtube“, which in blekko means “search for youtube videos related to”; and that’s exactly what you’ll get.

/youtube is classified as a third-party built-in slashtag of blekko.  We can expect to find other third-party slashtags like /amazon, /flickr and /twitter.   You’ll also find other useful built-in tags like /people, /date, /blogs, /rank, /traffic and /weather.   They even have /noporn!

There are also topic slashtags which allow you to search only the top sites for specific topics like /health, /conservative, /liberal, /tech, /VC, etc.  But what’s even more interesting is that users can create slashtags that can later be used by other users to filter their searches.   Many users have already shared their slashtags and you’ll find them under user slashtags.  An interesting example is “/social-network-analytics“.  To create a slashtag, you’ll need to create an account in blekko and it doesn’t take long to make one.

I haven’t fully explored, but from the moment I stumbled upon this site I already liked it a lot!  I liked the simplicity, their concept (kudos to the blekko team!) and even their introductory video.

Play blekko video

Click the "Play" button to play the video in Vimeo

In my opinion though, I don’t think blekko can compete with Google’s really extensive database (for now), but we should give blekko some time to catch up.  blekko is using ScoutJet to crawl for websites, a new Silicon Valley based search engine created by the founders of DMOZ and Topix.  It’s a humble crawler that obeys robots.txt, allows sites to set crawl delays, and as the developers put it, “politely crawls your website”.   It also understands wildcards and Allow, so I’d like to see how this crawler will evolve with more features for web developers in the future.

Lastly, I believe blekko can give us really relevant (and timely) search results–or results that match the intent of the one searching, which for me is really the most important criterion for search engines.  It still needs a little work in the speed aspect (although I don’t know if my location is an issue), but overall I give this search engine four thumbs up (including my toes) for making my web search experience an even better one!

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