Ok, I got a little over excited in the title. But the new version of search engine Blekko, called Zorro and launching right now, is pretty cool. There have been big improvements visually. Gone are the red links of previous the version along with most of the left sidebar clutter. In fact, that left sidebar is gone and has been replaced with small icons next to search results to tell you what site they’re from at a glance.
The company has also increased search relevance substantially by auto-including some 1,000 slash tags, up from just a handful previously. That means that for many results you are looking at hand picked sites that are known to have high quality content. Content farms just can’t get through slashtags.
Search for “pregnancy tips” and you’ll see to slash tags, for /pregnancy and /health, and quite good results compared to Google. But on Blekko you’re not done. Click on one of those slash tags to drill down into results relevant to that tag. Answer relevance goes even higher. On Google you’d have to visit the next page of results, or rephrase your query. Both are time consuming.
What’s most amazing about Blekko, though, is it’s still around. So many ambitious search startups like Cuil and SearchMe went for it and flailed. But Blekko, six months in, is growing nicely and has around 1 m unique IPs visit the site monthly. Early contextual ad testing, they say, is producing good results. When they finally turn that on for good, a real revenue stream will be flowing to Blekko. In other words, it may be time to start thinking of Blekko as a long term “we’re still here” startup. They have no appearance of fail anywhere near them yet.
One more thing Blekko is launching today is a fun tool called 3 Engine Monte. More on that in my next post.