Over the week-end, I played with Blekko a new search engine currently in beta. The company has opened the kimono last week to John Battelle (http://bit.ly/98KqqO) and TechCrunch (http://tcrn.ch/a540jx) so I feel like it is ok to describe what I saw. The company has also received significant funding from USVP and CMEA (http://bit.ly/bsTRUi) as VentureBeat mentioned.
The site is still in its early stage but the idea behind Blekko is very original and makes perfect sense: limit your search to a number of predefined websites that you are interested in and trust. For instance, you are a start-up looking for funding and you could be interested to understand what the Venture Industry thinks specifically about your industry and which General Partner, within the Venture Industry, is following your specific industry. Right now, you would have to go through 10s of Google Pages to get all the VC and angel’s interesting blogs. Blekko does the job for you, they have identified 146 VC blogs and created a slashtag (/Blekko/VC) that you can now use to do your search and only see the results from those 146 blogs. There are probably more than 146 VC blogs but the most important ones are there.
For instance, if you type social CRM /Blekko/VC, you will get 9 results from 4 VC Blogs: Eldorado Ventures, Jeff Nolan who is not a VC any longer but was General Partner at SAP Ventures, Fred Wilson at Union Square (interesting blog on family CRM), Dave McClure (mentioning an article from Jeremiah Owyang). This would lead me to believe that the trend has not caught up yet with the VC industry. Note also that Blekko is an early search engine so there may be more results coming.
Another interesting feature from Blekko is to be able to share slashtags. I have created three of them (pcases3/philippetechblog, pcases3/socialcrm, pcases3/vcblog) that you can search for and use as you want. I started with all the industry pundits for each category and added blekko’s own slashtag for techblog and VC blog. You can search for them and use one of my slashtags to do a search or more interestingly, you could build your own slashtag, embed mine into yours and get more results for your searches.
To use Blekko, you can request an invite on the site (www.blekko.com) or ask me as I have ten invites that I could use.
In addition to the fact that I find this company interesting with a lot of potential usage for power search users as well as more general searches down the road once the more general slashtags are established, the concepts that the company is using leveraging crowd sourcing for keyword search are very close to the concepts we are using to build our own service to manage contacts so stay tune when we will release our beta product.