I have been reading a lot about how Google is ranking content aggregators higher than the original content creators. See Trouble in the house of Google and the especially telling Google, Google, Why Hast Thou Forsaken the Manolo?. Given how the Google algorithm evidently ranks pages (with content & inbound links as the primary parameters), this should perhaps come as no surprise – those pages are probably better optimised for search engines and deserve a higher rank. However, when we ‘humans’ see that, especially when that human is the content creator himself, we cry foul. Of course, in some case this may lead to a diminished user experience as some of these content aggregators may have a bevy of ads and spam.
Well, I’m sure the Google goons are on it, figuring out a way to tackle this problem. Meanwhile, the search engine whose names comes up more and more frequently in these posts is ‘Blekko’ – much more than the more obvious alternatives like Bing.
What is different with Blekko? To start with they have something called ‘slashtags’ which narrows your search within a category specified by the tag. For example if you use ‘/date’, Blekko will rank your results chronologically, if you use ‘/tech’ it will search within a ‘human curated set of websites related to tech’. See how this professor used it for research.
Here’s Blekko explaining their own search engine.
So what gives?
1. As soon as you look at the video you realise that slashtags could imply any number of things. It does not have an immediately intelligible usage pattern – in some cases, it’s searches a human selected set of sites (as in /tech or /green), in another it’s algorithmic sorting by date (/date). What about ‘photography /fashion /people’? I read “Find pages for ‘photography’ in websites related to fashion and websites related to people”. It just does not translate into normal english as ‘people related to fashion photography’. Most people would rather search for the latter directly and that too probably in Google. So they either need a name that has more semantic value, or a some structure that can translate to readable english.
2. I am very intrigued by it’s other features. An ‘seo’ link against each result! This should be interesting!
So I’m going start testing it out by replacing it in Chrome as my default search i.e. the default in the Chrome address bar. How do you do it? Well, Go to Chrome Options, Click on ‘Manage’ next to Default search. Click ‘Add…’ and then enter the following:
Here’s the URL to copy paste with ease:
Next, select this ebgine from the list and click ‘Make Default’. You are good to go.
If you still want Google as a fallback, here’s what I did. I added another engine to the list with the following parameters:
You can use whatever keyword you like. The URL :