Yesterday, alternative search engine, Blekko finally went live after 3 years of development and just over 3 months of beta testing. Back in July, Search Engine Land did a write up on the new search engine, highlighting some of its shining features and big flaws. One of, if not the main feature, that might lure some searchers away from Google or Bing (if only for very specific queries) is Blekko’s ability to allow users to conduct “vertical” searches right from its main page. “Vertical” searches differ from “horizontal” searches in that users can explore one very specific topic fully instead of getting results that are extremely varied in relevance to what you are actually looking for. The tool that makes this possible is slashtags.
With slashtags, searchers can alter results to make them more specific to a certain angle they are interested in. One example given by Danny Sullivan is while searching for BP you can make it so you only get results with a conservative point of view by adding the /conservative slashtag. Doing this will filter results so you only see what Blekko deems as conservative, such as Fox News. The search engine new comer offers a list of built-in slashtags i.e. /stock, /weather, /define, /twitter, and many more. Also is a long list of slashtag topics including /actors, /diet, /seoblogs, /movies, etc.
While Blekko knows that it isn’t going to overturn Google’s reign as search engine extraordinaire, it does think it will find a niche among people seeking refuge from the ever-growing sea of irrelevant results. Founder Rich Skrenta says there is “no such thing as a Google killer” and that companies that aim to take on such a feat are often times the ones that fail miserably. He and his company simple want to address the problems they see in search and offer users another option.