Search engine Blekko to rely on the human touch

A small Silicon Valley company with some big name backers will release a test version of a new search engine that the company says has a key ingredient that is missing from Google, the human touch. According to Blekko, the Web has increasingly become saturated with spam-like websites, specially designed to pop up in Google’s search results but whose content is heavier on marketing pitches than substantive information. The remedy, Blekko Chief Executive Rich Skrenta told Reuters, is to narrow searches to groups of websites that people, not computers, have pre-approved as being the best sources of information for particular topics. The approach is decidedly old-school in an industry where computer algorithms developed by engineers at Google and Microsoft Corp have for years been considered the ideal way to find information in the sea of online data. Blekko has raised USD 24m in funding as it has developed its product over the past three years, with angel investors including Marc Andreessen, the creator of the first Web browser, and Ron Conway, who has invested in tech companies including Twitter, Foursquare and even Google. Blekko is launching with a special directory of websites that can provide spam-free results in seven general search categories: health, recipes, song lyrics, hotels, automobiles, colleges and personal finance. Blekko also allows users to create their own personal directories of websites for any topic, so that the search engine only looks for information from sources the user deems relevant or trustworthy


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