Nsyght filters search through humans

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Nsyght is a tiny startup from West London tackling the big problem of search relevancy. What does that mean? It means it wants to take your bookmarks and social network and use that to create more relevant search results. No mean feat and the public alpha of the site has that slight Web 2.0 sniff of ‘great feature, but not company’ about it. However, it’s early days and it’s a laudable idea to try and improve search results by leveraging the collective power of humans who have already filtered lots of data through their social bookmarks. But unlike Mahalo, nsyght doesn’t need to employ 100 out of work actors in Los Angeles.
Nsyght users either perform searches via the community-focused index, or sign up for an account and start inputting what sites they trust. The theory goes that over time, as a user expands their social network and bookmarks, they will have a totally custom-built search index specific to them.

The site features ‘Social Network Portability’ (xfn+hcard) support, so users can import their profile and friends data from digg, last.fm, twitter, and pownce. Users can also export their existing bookmarks from del.icio.us or ma.gnolia, as well as sync their Nsyght bookmarks back to a del.icio.us account.

Founder Geoffrey McCaleb says he is aiming at early adopters first. So for instance, a search on iPhone does not return the apple.com/iphone result, but links to Technorati, iphone hacks and a news blog about the iPhone. You can feel that geek social network at work, humming away in the background.

nsyght is a really interesting project. I just wonder if a certain company called Google isn’t going to offer something quite similar when it finally decides to take on Facebook and offer a ‘filter results via X’ feature. Then again, there might be all sorts of ways nsyght could benefit from the growing eco-system around social search.

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