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Blekko Integrates Social Graph Into Search

Wednesday the company behind the new Blekko search engine announced that it has brought the "social graph" into the search box by integrating users' Facebook "Likes." This will supposedly help reduce the amount of spam appearing in search results, providing an even more trusting search experience.

Once Blekko users log in through Facebook Connect, they will see whether or not their friends "Like" a certain search result. Users can also add "/likes" to the end of a search query which applies a filter that will only produce results based on the "Likes" of Facebook friends. In other words, if everyone doesn't like a certain result, it will not appear when using the"/likes" slashtag.

“Millions of Facebook users are curating their web experience everyday by simply clicking 'Like' on the content, commerce, travel, restaurants and brands they love most,” said Rich Skrenta, CEO of Blekko. “We’ve taken this data and applied it to Blekko’s results making them spam-free and personally relevant.”

The slashtag feature is a big selling point for Blekko, allowing users to custom-tailor search results rather than deal with spam and malicious links. As the company states, slashtags are curated sets of web sites organized around a particular topic. "They already cover topics as broad as health, money, and autos, and as narrow as gluten-free, college football, and the Grateful Dead," Blekko explained. "Slashtags appended to search queries limit search results to only the curated sets of sites."

As an example of how the "Likes" system works, a Blekko user--signed into their Blekko and Facebook accounts--could enter "games" into the search box. The results produce the usual list of websites, however there's an additional "like" term under each heading. Hitting the "like" link pulls up a dialogue box asking the user press the Facebook Like button and to add the link to a specific slashtag. If the slashtag doesn't exist, it can be created right on the spot. Later users can use that particular slahtag and see the "liked" websites listed in the result.

Since its launch in November, more than 50,000 slashtag vertical search terms have been created by "thousands of human editors."