I don’t really know if we should be surprised or not, but another social networking site has just emerged into the web, please meet ROCKZi. But the most interesting part about it isn’t the site itself but actually its founding father, the search engine rising star Blekko.
Yep, Blekko now has a social networking platform of its own that it defines as a “news website that features high quality news stories and organizes them by topic”. It also has a catchy tagline- “Read. Vote. Rock.” Let’s try to understand ourselves- What. The. Fuck.
ROCKZi is some sort of hybrid between the old time social bookmarking sites such as Digg and the more modern age social platforms like Pinterest. Just like the almost dead social bookmarking sites, users shares stories (URLs) from the web and can comment and vote (“this rockz”) on stories of others.
ROCKZi’s design resembles remarkably Pinterest’s as all stories appears on screen in different sized boxes (but can also be arranged in orderly lines). The site doesn’t has a self log-in service but smartly integrated with Facebook- Sign-up through Facebook Connect, Facebook comments and the option for automatic sharing to Facebook (turned on by default).
The site currently categorized to 30 topics (or “Boards”) like TuneZ, GamerZ, BrideZ and Geekery but Blekko says it will open more boards in the future which would be also translated into search signal. It probably means that the story’s site in which shared into the SportZ board for instance, will have a big correlation to sport.
And that actually leads me to my next point, why Blekko needs a social networking platform at all?
Even though social signals apparently still don’t have a big role for search engines quite yet, at some point in the future they will most likely do. This is why Google developed Google+ and why Bing is deeply in bed with Facebook and Twitter (Microsoft has its own social network So.cl but its pretty awful).
Blekko obviously understand where the wind is blowing and so it tries its luck on the social playground too. Through ROCKZi, it could receive all those precious social indications which can assist delivering better quality search results. That is, in case people will actually use ROCKZi of course.
And that is basically one of the main issues with social signals- They have to be broadly scalable enough so the search engine algorithms could effectively transcribe them into measurable metrics. In more simpler words, if not enough people would use ROCKZi, Blekko wouldn’t be able to use it as a social signal for its search engine.