This morning, alternative search engine service blekko announced a partnership with hot iPad social magazine Flipboard to power its content searches. Under the new deal, users looking for new content to subscribe to within Flipboard can discover and browse for items by keyword. The content will come from RSS feeds, the Web feed format used to publish regularly updated news in a structured format. But unlike with traditional RSS readers, like Google Reader, for example, the feeds will not be displayed in the typical inbox-like view often associated with feed-reading services. Instead, the feeds will be displayed in Flipboard’s magazine-like format for a more visually attractive experience.
RSS dead? Hardly.
Of course, Flipboard is not the first startup to display RSS feeds in a more attractive visual layout. A number of startups have done the same, including Feedly, Pulse and Zite, to name just a few of the more recent entries. But Flipboard is one of the most popular social magazines for iPad at present, having just announced that it’s now seeing more than 10 million “flips per day,” up from 3 million just two months ago. (Flips equate to pageviews in the iPad application). It has also been featured in Apple’s “App Essentials Hall of Fame” in iTunes and is one of the 25 most popular free apps for iPad.
Blekko, while perhaps a less well-known startup, is an alternative search engine that uses human editors to aid in the elimination of spam from search results. It also allows you to curate your own personalized, customized mini-search engines featuring content you curate yourself. (Note: We recently looked at this process in a post titled “How to Use Blekko to Rock at Your Job.”)
Earlier this year, the startup announced that it’s using Facebook “likes” to help create personalized search experiences, where users can see whether or not any of their Facebook friends liked particular search results. This is similar to the functionality Microsoft’s Bing search engine just announced yesterday.
Within Flipboard, however, blekko is providing the social magazine with access to its RSS feeds via a specially developed API (application programming interface), which offers a programmatic way for Flipboard to access Blekko’s content.
This isn’t Flipboard’s first RSS feed integration, either. In December, the magazine added support for Google Reader, but, of course, this assumed that an end user was already using RSS feeds and had a collection of feeds ready for import. With Blekko, users don’t need to understand RSS technology, they only need to know what content they would like to see and perform a simple search.
The blekko integration is live now in Flipboard’s iPad app.