Search engines are going the way of the old Encyclopedia Britannica, to crowdsourcing. Who said anything about dusty bookshelves covered in prismatic spidery silks? The search engine Blekko has placed an open call for search results editors, but they’ll be called “slashers.” Sounds a little menacing but if Wikipedia’s successful harnessing of everyday people’s zeal for organizing, indexing, and listing reference sources is any indication, well, maybe the good people in Redwood City, where Blekko’s based, are on to something. As users organize results, they’ll create slashtags.
The idea behind social search is to make search engine results better and more personalized using “social media, recommendations, and crowdsourcing” to get rid of spamm-y results, you know, bad links and non-relevant information. At last counting, Blekko tallied 100,000 slashtags.
Blekko isn’t the only one looking to get a piece of the social search action. Google just put out +1, which makes it possible to recommend search results and view others’ recommendations as you search and Microsoft/Bing partnered with Facebook a few months back. Microsoft’s strategy is to let Facebook friends’ recommendations and links help determine the results you get to your query when you type, say, “best fish tacos Burbank.” Maybe it’s the way to get more than a little lucky and find some decent tacos when you’re in a pinch but still want to try some place new instead of going to the regular stand.
Quoted in today’s S.F. Chronicle, Bing Social’s program manager, Paul Yiu laments that search has been “until recently” a “lonely experience,” and that Bing Social looks to “introduce people as an important part of search.”
Seems this promises to be less and less so the case in the very near future.
M.J. Said It Best: You Are Not Alone (When You Search)