Google so far has been able to extend its dominance to tablets, largely because its search engine is the built-in option on the iPad and most Android devices.
But the algorithms and format that Google uses on tablets and laptops are basically the same. Skrenta doubts Google will switch to a format as dramatically different as Izik's approach because it still makes most of its money from online advertising displayed on traditional PCs. The tendency to stick with a long-established product that is still bringing most of a company's money while challengers are introducing breakthroughs that threaten the status quo is sometimes referred to the "innovator's dilemma."
Blekko's namesake search engine also sought to address a problem that Skrenta didn't think was being adequately addressed by Google. By relying on humans to highlight the most useful information under frequently searched topics, Blekko, which is based in Redwood Shores, Calif., tries to remove the rogue websites that have learned to how to manipulate search formulas to gain a prominent ranking in search results.
Although Blekko began working on its technology five years ago, its search engine didn't debut until late 2010. About four months after that, Google unveiled sweeping changes to its search algorithm in an effort to reduce the rubbish showing up in its results.
Although its search engine has yet to undercut Google's dominance, Blekko has attracted a loyal following. It draws about 12 million monthly visitors and has raised about $50 million in venture capital from a group of investors that includes actor Ashton Kutcher and Yandex, a Russian search engine that is more popular in its home country than Google.