Another search engine takes aim at Google

Blekko.com wants to produce higher-quality search results by relying on user input

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I was going to ignore the debut of "human input" search engine Blekko.com today, mostly because I'm wary of "this is the next big search engine" kind of hype. But then I thought back to 10 years ago, when a plucky start-up named Google could barely crack the Media Metrix top 50 most-visited websites.

Plus Blekko's getting some good reviews. Here's John Dvorak in PCMag.com:

Google is the greatest search engine as of now, but that doesn't mean it cannot be beaten by some new algorithm or a better idea. Blekko is going for a better idea.

Blekko, in fact, adds so much weird dimensionality that out of all the recently hyped search engine ideas, such as www.cuil.com, I find it the most interesting. I do not say this often. ...

I recommend Blekko. It's the best out-of-the-chute new engine I've seen in the last 10 years, seriously.

And here's the Wall Street Journal:

[S]some Internet analysts have voiced praise for Blekko.com, which has raised $24 million from venture-capital firms (U.S. Venture Partners and CMEA Capital) and well-known angel investors Ron Conway and Marc Andreessen. ...

Blekko, while using a Google-style search algorithm, relies on users to select which websites should appear in results for certain queries. ...

As the number of Web pages reaches one trillion, "there is an acceleration of spam," said Rich Skrenta, Blekko's chief executive. "We're cleaning this up … using large-scale human curation" that promotes "trusted" content.

It's an interesting idea -- crowdsourcing search results to improve quality -- and we'll know relatively soon if it's catching on. Skrenta says Blekko's goal is to be the No. 3 search engine. It'll need to top 10 percent market share to do that, as Bing currently is No. 3 with 9.9 percent, according to Hitwise.

That's not going to happen overnight, but if Blekko can surpass No. 5 AOL Search (1.2 percent) and No. 4 Ask.com (2.3 percent) within a few months, that'll be a good start.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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