Wink 2.0 to launch next week

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Social search engine Wink will launch version 2.0 of its service early next week with changes designed to make make search more social than ever. I’ve described below the information I was able to get out of them prelaunch, but I hope there’s more to come. Social search has a lot of potential and I do like Wink’s approach.

Here’s the basics on Wink. It’s a search engine that indexes tagged content from Digg, Yahoo MyWeb, Furl, Slashdot, other social bookmarking services and it’s own users’ archives. Those items are displayed as appropriate on search results pages above results from Google. It’s Google, augmented by peoples’ tags. It’s also a standard social bookmarking service in and of itself.

Users can also create collections, or lists of items related to a given topic, a list of pages related to buying a video projector or a list of pages related to the band Weezer. Lists can be subscribed to by other users. Unlike standard tags in typical social bookmarking services, any given list can be added to by another user.

All of that could read like standard rhetoric, but it can be interesting to use the FireFox search plug-in and add tag search to the top of your Google results. If you’re looking for a simple, straightforward social bookmarking service this could work for you. Wink also synchs with del.icio.us and lets users change wiki entries inside Wink that were gleaned from Wikipedia.

The company received $6.2 million in funding from Cambrian Ventures, Greylock Partners and angels last year. You can see our previous coverage of Wink here.

What’s new in Wink 2.0? Users will be able to move search results up and down by vote, including results from Google. The current version of Wink just ranks sites by the number of Wink users who have tagged them. Quick voting could help increase the quality of the results or it could substitute carefully thought out algorithms with the whims of fickle users. It’s a delicate balance, but Wink says for example that spam control will be implemented shortly to prevent antisocial users from gaming the system. The single item that’s received the most thumbs up on that query will be displayed at the top of the page.

Collections built by users will play a much more prominent roll in search results as well. While the current version only displays collections with titles that match search terms, the new version will index the full text of the pages included in the collection, tags and user ratings in order to display the most high quality collections by relevance. Users will also be able to subscribe to future additions made to collections.

Toolbar lovers rejoice – there will be a FireFox toolbar available for Wink next week as well, so you can perform all the site’s functions from any page.

Finally, the garish colors that make the current site so hard on the eyes will be gone in favor of a more appealing user interface. Unfortunately the new logo is annoying, I think.

That’s the information I could get out of the company prior to launch of the new site. There should be more, as the above looks to me like little beyond news that the site is living up to its stated goals better than before. Even that is good news though, as Wink search is something I’ve wanted to use for some time but have found unsatisfying in action to date.

Wink 2.0 will go up early next week, but you can visit the site and provide your email if you’d like to be notified when it’s available.

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