Blekko (available at http://blekko.com/) announced last week that it has added the ability to use Facebook “Likes” to leverage searching its Web index. Let me explain how that works and give you a couple of examples, and then let me complain a bit.
Blekko’s search enhancement consists of “slashtags” that allow you to sort and/or delineate your searches in a certain way. In the case of this new offering you can connect to Blekko via Facebook, do a search that includes the slashtag /likes, and get as your search result only pages which your friends have “Liked” on Facebook.
(Names of people who “Liked” content blurred for privacy.)
Search results look the same as they usually do on Facebook, except for a small note showing which of your friends “Liked” particular content. Also at the top of the search results you have the usual options to sort results by date and relevance, but there’s also a little “Thumbs up” icon that lets you sort results by how many likes they have received by your friends.
In doing some experiments with this, I was surprised how many Web pages my friends have “liked.” It appears that if a domain is liked, all pages are liked — so if a friend “Likes” the New York Times, all pages on the New York Times are considered “Liked”. It would be nice if you could turn that off, though it would seriously, seriously cut down your search results.
I like this as an addition to Blekko’s search and it seems like a simple way to cut down your search to low-spam, high-quality results. My concern is the proliferation of buttons that allow you to simply like (have you noticed them on Amazon?). The whole spectrum of human emotion against the information and culture of thousands of years, presented by the Internet, and our reactions are to LIKE or not?
There’s much to be said for simplicity but I can imagine a “Dislike” button helping a Web search as much as a Like button. Filtering out pages that your friends have specific warnings or concerns against would help a search too, wouldn’t it? Of course you could keep going with this idea — with a “Meh” button, a “Scholarship” button, a “Lolz” button, etc etc. Maybe that’s too much. But wouldn’t be nice to at least express some kind of negative, no matter how mild?