Zakta Guides: A Social Media Tool to Organize the Web

Have you searched for in-depth information on the Web lately only to get back results that were mostly sales pitches, regurgitations of a single article that wasn’t very informative in the first place, woefully out-of-date pages, or bait-and-switch sites that didn’t even mention your search term? Is there any hope of getting useful and trusted resources for what you are searching for?

Brian Solis wrote about the rapid evolution of search (also here) citing the flurry of activity in the search industry around such capabilities as real-time search, social search and semantic search.  In my personal opinion, one big issue that hasn’t received much attention is the one I raise above – what is going to help people with their searches for in-depth information on the Web?

Zakta - Personal and Social Web Search EngineZakta, our personal and social Web search engine, offers a way that makes Web searching useful, purposeful and fun.  As I’ve written before, Zakta helps with these deeper informational searches, by presenting organized information for your search queries, enabling you to personalize the results, save them for later use and even share the search results you’ve found useful with friends, family, workgroups and the world.

A few weeks ago, Matt Hurst wrote on his Datamining blog that Zakta was a new way to organize Web knowledge and might be part of a set of emerging tools for what he calls “web gardening“.  I wanted to elaborate on this part of Zakta, by introducing Zakta Guides, the social media tool in Zakta that enables organization of resources from the Web on any topic, and all the benefits it brings to people everywhere and to the authors of Guides in particular.

On Zakta, no matter what topic you are searching on, you can collect the best Web sites, news articles, blog posts, products, companies, services, videos, images, whatever is relevant and useful for your search, and organize and share it in the form of a Guide with others. When other users look for similar information, Zakta presents your Guide (or other matching Guides created by other Zakta users) in their search results.  i.e. Others can benefit from the results of your searching effort, and begin their search with what you have found useful.

Moluccan Cockatoo Guide created by Len Charnoff, owner of a Cockatoo and expert on the subjectIn turn, other users can vote and recommend your Guide, share it with others, and even suggest new resources to add to your Guide, so you and everyone else can benefit from what others have discovered. Users who like certain Guides can subscribe to them so they can stay on top of updates and additional search results. A really powerful capability in Zakta is that you can even invite other people you trust – friends, family members, co-workers, and associates – to collaborate with you and add to and edit your Guide. In this way, a Zakta Guide enables the best information from the Web to be organized in one place for a given topic.

See these interesting Zakta Guides that people have created so far.

Zakta Guide Wall - A sampling of good Zakta Guides created by Zakta members

There are Guides on a diverse range of subjects such as these:

When you organize and share the best resources from the Web on a topic you are interested in, you make it easy for others to search on that topic. Likewise, you benefit from what others have shared.  Imagine if everyone decided to share what they’ve found useful from their searches on topics they know about using Guides!  Just how much more useful the search experience can be for everyone!  Jason Falls mused about the game changing possibilities this kind of approach to getting curated search results in his recent post on Zakta. And Jason was right in arguing that this will require that people come to Zakta.

I can cite three reasons why Zakta can be very useful to you:

  1. Help yourself with a personalized searching experience that saves you time with your deeper searches for information.  Who wouldn’t want to save time in this ever-demanding world we live in!
  2. Help others by sharing what you know or have found. You will likewise benefit from others doing the same.  This is a win-win proposition coming from a search framework that lets people help each other!
  3. You can offer more value to your current visitors, reach more searchers on the Web, and engage your followers better in social networks!  This is a big, practical benefit for you, and here’s how Zakta enables this:
    • Zakta Guides can be linked from your blog, Web site, or social network page, to offer additional information to new and recurring visitors alike.
    • Here’s the big kicker – If your Guides are good, it will be automatically indexed by other popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and others – this means that users searching on the Web using these popular search engines for matching topics will find your Guides in the search engine results page, and benefit from your Guides.

By combining a personalized search engine with a social media tool in the form of Zakta Guides, and a social network to let you connect with people you trust, Zakta makes it possible for people to make a difference in the quality of the search experience for themselves and everyone else.  The overarching benefit for the Web as a whole is that Zakta can help organize the chaos of the Web, one topic at a time!

I invite you to dig deeper into Zakta and experience these benefits for yourself.  As always, we’d love to hear feedback and what we can do to make Zakta better for you.

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