What’s the difference between search and social media? Increasingly, the answer is “very little.” There is no dividing line: Facebook has become more of a force in the search industry, particularly in local search and current events. But what have search engines done to venture into social territory?
One would look to the undisputed king of the search industry, Google, and expect an answer. But thus far, Google’s forays into social have been stymied. Lively, a network with a similar model of popular Second Life, failed. Buzz, which aimed to be Google’s Twitter, failed. And, have you have ever heard of Orkut? No? You’re not alone; it is virtually unknown in the US.
Bing has had some success – because they have partnered with social mecca, Facebook, to provide more personalized search results. But according to Rick Skrenta, CEO and co-founder of Blekko, neither search company has been as “aggressive” as the engine that “slashes the web.” What is Blekko doing to create a social scene of its own?
That’s just it: Blekko isn’t out to reinvent the wheel. Skrenta says, “It’s interesting that they’re [Google] trying to boot up their own social experience with +1 rather than tapping into one of the existing massive social systems that are already out there.”
This is what Blekko has done; they are incorporating Facebook likes and comments to give a more customized search for users. Another reason why Skrenta believes Blekko offers a superior experience is that the focus is on spam elimination. “If you take a random Facebook user, first of all, it’s likely to be a human, and second of all, if you can restrict it to the people that are in your social circle, since people don’t generally follow spammers, the signal is much higher.” And the results more relevant and legitimate.
Google hasn’t given up on social yet; they’re hoping that people like their +1 as much as they do the thumbs up icon from Facebook.