Search engine upstart, Blekko, has done in weeks, what seems to have taken Bing months to do – integrate Facebook like data into search results. Simply connect your Facebook account to Blekko, via the Facebook button at the bottom of the home page and quicker than you can say “Bob’s your uncle” (British slang for ‘and you’re done’), you can search your uncles’, fathers’ brothers’, mothers’, sisters’, cousins’, friends’ Facebook likes.
Okay… Maybe it takes a tad longer that, but put simply, before long you can filter your Blekko searches via ‘Likes’ within your Facebook friends network. All you need to do is, append the new slashtag to your query – /likes.
Pursuing the vision to create a ‘spam-free’ search engine Rich Skrenta, Blekko founder, realized that they were missing a trick. Rather than relying on searchers becoming Blekko power users in order to experience the benefits of curated search, why not pull data from networks where content is already curated?
“Basically the new /likes slashtag limits results to those curated by your social circle. It occurred to us that you and your friends activity on FB was implicit curation, and to our eyes at Blekko this looked a lot like a slashtag. When you log into Blekko through FB we pull this implicitly curated slashtag out of FB and let you search it. Bing doesn’t change their results in any way based on the FB data.”
And it’s nifty too. It works better than Facebook’s terrible search interface, doesn’t require any software download and where other search engines try to calculate your query intent, Blekko’s system of slashtags mean you can state your intent in your query and trigger the ranker to show ‘liked’ results at any time. As usual you can order results by date or relevance.
Compare Blekko results:
To Bing’s Facebook results:
A feature of this integration that is present in Blekko and distinctly missing from Bing is the ability to see all the people who liked the result and then clickthrough on their user name to conduct the same search filtered by likes within your shared network.
If you really want to see what impact Facebook integration may have on the way you experience search today, rather than trawling Bing for the few and far between Facebook results, try the /like slashtag on Blekko and search your friend network right now.
I’ve already found lots more successful queries than I was expecting under a broad spectrum of topics which I am interested in. For example eye-tracking studies curated by people in my friend network whom I already know are experts on the matter.
Blekko are by no means the first to make Facebook searchable, but this is the best I have seen so far.