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    Hack This: Stop, You're Searching the Web All Wrong

    Written by

    Michael Byrne


    Hack This is Motherboard’s weekly guide to doing technology better

    Like most everyone else, you use straight-up Google for your searches like it’s the first and only search engine the internet every crapped out. You’ve heard of Bing, of course, but Microsoft can fall off a cliff (for some reason you can’t remember all that well anymore) and what else is there? And, more important, why would you ever use it? Google is just right there in the corner of your screen all the time.

    There’s a problem with that default Google search and it has nothing to do with content farms or other search spam. It’s not encrypted. Your bank’s website, your Amazon sign-in, and other stuff like that is however. Meaning that it’s nigh impossible for your average hacker to get that information. The search you send to Google and what Google sends back to you is a comparative open book. Think of all the people that might know all about your thing for bondage teacher porn.

    Still, maybe in American in the year 2011 that isn’t a huge deal—it might should be—but imagine if you were in one of the Middle-Eastern countries that are right now in some stage of revolt and governmental suppression. You may be more more concerned searching “protest Tahrir square.”

    The amazing thing is that it’s so easy to search via an encrypted channel, just as amazing as it is that Google doesn’t offer encryption as it’s default. But last Spring Google did unveil a separate search-via-encryption at encrypted.google.com. So there’s Google’s closed channel.

    But, as of last Fall, there’s something even better: Blekko. Blekko is all encrypted all the time, but much more: It filters content farms shamelessly. It took Google years worth of pressure just to bump content farms, er “low quality” content, down a wee little bit in the search rankings. Blekko, who doesn’t make money on content farms like Google, just out and said Fuck you.

    What’s also pretty cool is that Blekko uses slashtags, or at least can. That means that, say, you search for “awesome giant dog” and you want your results “spun” from a particular viewpoint, you’d add a term at the end like “/veterinarians” or “/cats.” You’d have very different results, right?

    Anyhow, you’ll find a Firefox plug-in for Blekko—so you have it built-in like Google probably is now—right here.

    blekko: how to slash the web from blekko on Vimeo.

    New Search Engine Does Something Google Can’t
    Content Farms (Finally) Put the Fear Into Google

    Reach this writer at michaelb@motherboard.tv.