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Sift through the Internet with Blekko's excellent Android app

by Caitlin M. Foyt

A very different kind of search engine app for your Android phone, Blekko is an app that takes a clever and non-traditional approach to finding stuff on the web.

Based on the website with the same name, Blekko is an alternative to search engines like Google and Bing. You can connect your Facebook friends to your Blekko account, and you can then filter your searches using something the company's CEO calls "slashtags."

Everyone can create and edit slashtags around different categories — news, entertainment, technology, health, etc. — which users can use to filter out spam and limit search results.

The first time I used Blekko, I ended up visiting the app's mother site to get an overall feel for how it worked. While I was there, I came across a really helpful video that did a pretty thorough job explaining what Blekko was all about.

To get more specific with your searches, you can use a hashtag to zero in on exactly what you're looking for. The app uses the search example "global warming." The company CEO typed in "global warming/green" to pick out green-friendly websites, "global warming/tech" for technology-related websites and "global warming/conservative" to take a look at the conservative side of the climate-change debate.

Blekko has done a great job compacting its service onto its mobile app, which does pretty much everything its website does. One perk offered by the app that's not offered by the website is that after you have run a search, you have the option to hit buttons at the bottom of the screen that organize your results by date or relevance.

On the other hand, one thing missing on the app was the "Spam" button on the Blekko website, an option that allows you to delete unwanted results from your search forever.

The people at Blekko did a good job keeping things plain and simple, and were careful not to make it flashy or complex. With a correct explanation, I could see just about anyone getting turned on to Blekko. This is an app that has the potential to completely change the way we search from our smart phones.

A really different concept, it took some time before I fully grasped what Blekko was all about. The only way to understand it is to play with it.

Blekko uses a methodology that really makes sense to me. I intend to use it all the time.

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