Social Search – Blekko’s More Aggressive Approach

    April 26, 2011

It’s no secret that search and social are overlapping more and more. In fact, Ted Ulle of Converseon told us last year that he believed the two would eventually unite and be called something like, integrated media marketing, or IMM.

Do you see search and social coming together as one entity? Let us know your thoughts.

It’s clear that social is an important element of search since search engines have not only made several attempts with social products, but they have also tried integrating it into their results. At this point, Bing integrates Facebook Likes, and Google integrates Twitter into its results.

Blekko however, added some heat to the race to merge search and social when it recently announced a further integration with Facebook. It had previously integrated Facebook Likes, but after last week’s announcement, incorporates Facebook Comments into its results as well.

Rich Skrenta, Blekko’s CEO and Co-founder, told us, “Basically, taking all of that data – the likes as well as the comments – and projecting it out onto the Web to, basically, give you just one more layer of understanding what you’re doing in search.”

Although Google did recently roll out its +1 product in an effort to become more social, it’s still too early to see if this feature is the answer to Google’s social woes.

“It’s interesting that they’re 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,” said Skrenta.

Incidentally, he did say that he would take Google’s +1 data if they made it available.

Ever since its launch last year, Blekko has been focused on keeping spam out of search. Skrenta has stated many times that the Web is overly saturated with spam. Referring to Google’s spam issues, specifically, he said the quality signal that Google pulls from a Web page and uses for ranking is actually really low. For this reason, he believes that a Facebook user is “more valid than a random Web page.”

“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,” he explained.

According to him, both Google and Bing are being “conservative” in their social efforts, which is why Blekko is trying to be more aggressive in its own approach.

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if Google or Bing responds to Blekko’s latest social initiative. Do you think they will?