CEO Of New Search Engine Blekko: 'I Don't Want To Kill Google'
Still, Skrenta says the first question he gets is "How will you kill Google?"
"I don't want to kill Google," Skrenta explains. "I love Google. I use lots of their products. But we want to make a site that offers better searches, better, different results for searches."
Blekko hopes to apply a Wikipedia model to search: everyone and anyone is invited to create and edit "slashtags" around different categories (i.e. gossip, health, technology, news), which users can then use to limit the results of their search to the set of pre-defined, curated websites included within that slashtag. (Learn more here) Search for "iPad/Technology" on Blekko, for example, will offer you only results from the 50-or-so set of tech sites contained within the Technology slashtag.
Yet that isn't necessarily the definitive list of tech sites. A slashtag is "a rough draft," says Skrenta. "We want people to come and say, 'You should put in our site.' [...] The tag gets better as more people add sites. We want people to come and add to our tags."
Skrenta believes Blekko offers a human touch that is missing from Google and that his search engine provides a far more transparent way of delivering information online.
"Google hides behind their algorithm," Skrenta argues. "They claim there's no editorial element to it, but that's totally bogus."
He adds, "Search engines are by definition an editorial take on the web. We say, let's just be open about this and acknowledge it and say, 'Yes, we have an ediorial opinion about search."
Categorizing sites and creating slashtags is not controversy-free. For example, Skrenta is transparent about the fact that the "Health" slashtag has omitted alternative medicine sites. "I want material authored by doctors," Skrenta says of the slashtag. "Alternative medicine sites do not belong in Health. If you want to do alternative medicine, great, we'll make an 'Alternative Medicine' tag."
The Huffington Post asked Skrenta whether he believes he'll be able to convince users to contribute to Blekko, a for-profit company, as so many have to Wikipedia, which is a non-profit foundation.
"I think that sometimes having a profitable entity running something actually gives it more editorial independence," Skrenta explains. "If you have a clear editorial objective, having funding to power it is a very healthy thing."
We also asked Skrenta to give us a 140-character pitch for Blekko: "The new search engine," he said. "Lets you slash in what you want, slash out what you don't. As of public launch, better results for seven categories."
Read more about Blekko . What do you think are its greatest strengths? And flaws?