Goodbye Blekko: Search Engine Joins IBM’s Watson Team
Quiet for nearly two years, Blekko's home page says its team and technology are now part of IBM's Watson technology.
Add Blekko to the list of startup search engines that has come and now gone.
A message on the Blekko home page, shown above, says that “The blekko technology and team have joined IBM Watson!” The page redirects to a post on IBM’s Smarter Planet blog, where things get a bit confusing. Blekko’s home page message gives the impression of a complete acquisition, but IBM’s post mentions the acquisition of “certain technology.”
In our work to enhance the performance of cognitive computing systems, we’re constantly exploring new ways to identify, understand and make use of information from both public and private sources. Toward this end, we are excited about the acquisition of certain technology from Blekko, Inc, which closed this afternoon. This will provide access to additional content that can be infused in Watson-based products and services delivered by IBM and its partners.
We’ve reached out to Blekko CEO Rich Skrenta (who tweeted the news) for clarification on what IBM is acquiring, and we’ll update this if we learn more.
Blekko came out of stealth in 2008 with Skrenta promising to create a search engine with “algorithmic editorial differentiation” compared to Google. Its public search engine finally opened in 2010, launching with what the site called “slashtags” — a personalization and filtering tool that gave users control over the sites they saw in Blekko’s search results.
In 2011, Blekko went on the offensive against Google over spam, launching a “spam clock” website at spamclock.com that counted up the one million spammy web pages that Blekko claimed were being published online every hour. This was just as the debate on content farms and Google was really heating up, and in early 2011 Blekko even announced that it was banning content farms from its index. About three weeks later, Google announced the Panda algorithm update, its own effort to combat spam in search results — by no means a response to Blekko’s announcement, but certainly indirect validation that Blekko, and others who had been complaining about the amount of spam in Google’s search index, were on to something.
(Tip via VentureBeat.)