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March 2014: Blippex - A Search Engine Made by the People, For the People

Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 2014: Blippex - A Search Engine Made by the People, For the People

The new Berlin-based startup Blippex is giving Google a run for its money by taking a radically different approach to search engine optimization. Launched in July 2013 by Gerald Bäck and Max Kossatz, Blippex provides access to a secure and anonymous crowdsourced web browser. Unlike Google, Blippex doesn't rank searches by how many other pages on the web link to it. Instead, the startup's algorithm known as DwellRank determines relevance based on how long users spend on a site and how many times Blippex users have visited it. By replacing PageRank with DwellRank, Blippex strives to make online search about people and their interests rather than about links between machines.

Although Blippex constructs its search results based on user data, it does so in a way that cannot be traced to the individual. The plugin that users install strips personal information, only saving three data points: the URL, current time, and time a user spends on a page. In this realm of truly anonymized data, Google cannot compete, as the success of its advertising business has been built on personalizing search results and ads.

Blippex's obsession with privacy is a key selling point in today's day and age of growing concerns about online security. Marketing itself as "the world's most user-ignorant search engine," its founders are constantly thinking about how to make Blippex know even less about its users. If the company does not have a piece of data about a user, then it can never be stolen from Blippex by hackers or subpoenaed by a government.

To emphasize this commitment to safeguarding privacy practices, Blippex's founders have made their browser extension open source. The plugin is currently available on GitHub, a web-based hosting service for collaborative code review and management of software development projects. As part of Blippex's transparency efforts, the startup also intends to open source its search algorithm, starting with the inclusion of their scoring details in a public API, short for application programming interface.

Source & Image: © Blippex