Wink Launches

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The Wink user-enhanced search engine, in private beta for the last few months, launches Thursday morning to the world.

Wink has evolved substantially since my October 12, 2005 review.

Wink is, at its core, a combination of traditional search with feature-rich social bookmarking. Bookmarked/tagged results appear above normal search.

Search results can be bookmarked, tagged and rated from Wink. The same functionality is available via a bookmarklet that works with Firefox, Safari and IE. As a twist, users can also block “bad” pages. Lots of functional Ajax is built into the interface.

Users can easily browse tag results (either their own, or all users).

There are three key additional features.

First, Wink has added two way synchronization with del.icio.us bookmarks. And they’ve added a “Keep Sync’d” feature that, as the name implies, maintains a constant one or two-way syncronization with del.icio.us. No word on whether they will add in other social bookmarking services over time or not.

Second, Wink allows the creation of “collections”, which is a tag group (tags of tags). Collections are controlled by one user but can be shared with anyone.

Third, and this feature really appeals to me, Wink has added a “Wink Answers” tab to search results. The text is a wiki – meaning anyone can edit it. For queries that have complicated results, a number of options appear. A lot of data has been pre-populated, and I believe this will be a popular feature. Like Wikipedia, it begs for user interaction, but with a lower intimidation factor.

Wink is also finalizing a nice blog widget that includes additional links (that point only to bookmarks created by the blogger). See here for an example. I have not had the opportunity to test this myself yet, but it looks interesting.

Congratulations to Founder Michael Tanne and the entire Wink team.

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