I'm usually content to stick with Google for Web searches, but I've been trying out the new blekko search engine, recently launched in beta.
Blekko claims to be a better way to search the web because it supports slashtags, with which you can quickly configure and refine your search queries to search only sites you want and cut out the spam sites. You can use friends, experts, community or your own slashtags to slash in what you want and slash out what you don't.
My biggest complaint about Google is that while it usually finds me what I'm looking for reasonably quickly, one usually has to contend with a bunch of irrelevant returns. Blekko enables you to slash in the information you're really looking for, and pre-emptively slash out the stuff you don't want.
Slashtag refinement can be as narrow (/scuba) or as broad (/favourites) as you like. Add that slashtag to any search and you're only searching specifically relevant sites.
California-based blekko's developers have created hundreds of topic slashtags that can get you started such as /green, /humor, /noporn, /apple, /twitter, /youtube, and so forth, but they encourage you to make your own custom slashtags as well to slash out the spam and search only sites you want. In order to submit slashtags, you'll need to sign up for a username and password, a process I found quick and painless.
This three-minute video by blekko CEO Rich Skrenta explains how blekko works:
Blekko's user interface is even cleaner than Google's, and I've found blekko searches gratifyingly fast, faster than Google, with the advantage of the basic search function working the same as Google, so there is no learning curve to scale. You can just dive right in.
Blekko's developers have also posted a web search bill of rights:
1. Search shall be open
2. Search results shall involve people
3. Ranking data shall not be kept secret
4. Web data shall be readily available
5. There is no one-size-fits-all for search
6. Advanced search shall be accessible
7. Search engine tools shall be open to all
8. Search & community go hand-in-hand
9. Spam does not belong in search results
10. Privacy of searchers shall not be violated
Five case examples where slashtags shine
• Verticals with just YOUR favourite sites:
u2 /music, iphone reviews /tech, wine /buy, 2010 season /steelers, American Idol /tv
• Search you can't do with keywords:
global warming /conservative, ufos /paranormal, congress /humor, Kim Kardashian /gossip
• Slash through heavily spammed categories:
avoiding swine flu /health, iphone 4 reviews /techblogs, Aruba /travel, low calorie /diet
• Direct access to third party api's:
US Open /youtube, Twilight /twitter, Moby Dick /amazon, sports car /shop
To fnd out more or give blekko a try, visit: http://blekko.com/