As of today search engine Blekko has made search a little bit more social. Now the search engine lets you login through Facebook Connect and, using Facebook API data, shows you what sites your friends have ‘Liked’ as well as lets you search only those sites. Just connect to Blekko through Facebook, wait a few minutes for your ‘Likes’ to load and begin searching with the /Likes slashtag to see only friend-approved sites.
Unlike Bing’s Facebook ‘Like’ integration, Blekko’s new feature doesn’t just surface ‘Likes’ next to already existant result URLs. You can actually change the results you see based on what your friends have ‘Liked’ by searching and adding the /Likes slashtag to any search, for example TechCrunch /Likes.
And while ‘Like’ data now also shows up in normal Blekko search, you can also sort by ‘Like’ number by clicking on the thumbs up icon in the top corner of your results page. Click on ‘View’ to see which friends liked what.“We want to give you different views of the web based on how you want to see it,” said Blekko co-founder Mike Markson explaining the recent product development.
The feature also allows for some nifty tricks: You can search for everything movie related in your social graph by searching for /Movies /Likes. You can also click on a users’s name to see their ‘Likes’ and actually ‘Like’ individual results which will add the ‘Likes’ to your /Likes slashtag (Warning, this feature was a little buggy at the time of our demo). “We think this gives users a reason to use the ‘Like’ button, as a way of bookmarking something so you can search for it again in the future,” says CEO Rich Skrenta.
Blekko will now surface ‘Like’ information in three scenarios, a particular page, the site in general and a different page, taking one small step towards a feature of social search. While in actuality Google was the first social search (because links were actually made by humans) today most of the new links to things are not created by individuals, but spammers. Blekko’s use of the social graph is a noble attempt at remedying this.
I for one welcome this new era of personalized search.“We think having the insight of your friends directly into your search results does make search better,” Markson emphasizes. “There’s a real person behind the Facebook accounts, when they ‘Like’ something it’s not just a machine ‘Liking’ it but a human,” adds Skrenta. Maybe they’re right? Perhaps friendship is greatest spam filter there is.