Blekko's new Social News Curation Tool ROCKZi

 

I love Blekko, the search engine. I have reviewed it here before and it is one of my go-to search resources because of  the intelligent way it offers access to web information.

 

Now Blekko is dipping its toes into news curation. ROCKZi, with the tagline “read, vote, rock,” is designed to offer a solution to reading, discovering and curating interesting news along vertical categories. Add to and upvote stories on the site, gain “karma” points that increase your standing within the community, share stories and start discussions over shared interests.

 

If you know anything about Blekko, you likely know about “slashtags”, the tags that users can employ to limit search to certain pre-described categories. Boards on ROCKZi are much like slashtags – they give you access to a particular news vertical, so you can be assured of relevant stories within the category. Like slashtags over at Blekko, the number of boards is growing. Right now, you can peruse the following:

 

 

For bonus points, see if you can figure out the category from the title.

 

There is a bookmarklet that you can use to add stories while surfing. The board pages are laid out nicely, with a certain homage to Flipboard, and you can easily see from the thumbnail how many votes the stories have garnered. Hover over the thumbnails to add a “this rocks” or “comment” to the story. When you comment, you might note the similarity to a Facebook share – the comments employ a Facebook social plug-in and you can obviously log into ROCKZi with your Facebook profile. Fortunately, you can turn on and off posting your comments and likes to Facebook if you wish. When you just generally search the site without employing a board limiter, you will get all stories that contain your keyword, with filtering for top or recent.

 

I know what you’re thinking – I need another site for reading news like I need a hole in the head. If that new site is offering you stories you aren’t otherwise finding in your RSS feeds or social networks, then that site is worthwhile in my opinion. Better the story you know, than the story you don’t, to coin a phrase. And, with Blekko’s quality, it is hard for me to imagine ROCKZi being a dog. If you have some free time, head on over to ROCKZi and get some great curated news. Perhaps ROCKZi will pick up where the shattered remains of Digg have left off.

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Blekko – The Grown Up Search Engine

There is a lot to like about Google, yet there is also a lot to dislike too. An inherent distrust of results on first glance is one of my personal pet peeves. One never know if the top site on Google contains a scholarly answer to your question or is simply the result of cleverly crafted SEO.

Blekko (link here) is an upstart engine that hopes to address some of those woes. Blekko, which is publicly available as of today, trolls three billion Web pages it deems worthy and shows the very best results on any given topic. These “curated” pages are known in Blekko-ese by the somewhat unfortunate name of “slashtags.”

Blekko’s creators know enough to weed out pages that are churned out by companies on topics the company deems popular by people who may not fit your particular definition of “scholarly.” Blekko also leverages vertical search engines on specific topics – a better way to gain depth in results.

It is also drawing on a fruitful category of Web search — vertical search engines that offer results on specific topics. Search within one of Blekko’s topics and you will see the benefits of  weeded, reliable vertical search.
Tailor your search by identifying a single site and desired object, search by specific types of results or topics. Use the slashtag to segregate search commands such as “iphone/antenna” to narrow in on just the articles of interest. Use Blekko’s slashtags, create your own or edit existing tags to suit your needs. What about the spammers getting in and editing the slashtags? Blekko advises that it will police its own processes, Wikipedia-style, as it is committed to staying true to its course.
A different angle on search is a good thing. Hope Blekko is onto something here.