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Hakia launching new spin on social searching

Find other people searching for the same weird crap you are.

Up-and-coming semantic search company Hakia is launching a new social feature next week, called "Meet Others." It will give you the option, from a search results page, to jump to a page on the service where everyone who searches for the topic can communicate.

For some idealized (yet realistic) types of searching, it could be great. For example, suppose you were searching for information on a medical condition. Meet Others could connect you with other people looking for info about the condition, making an ad-hoc support group. On the Meet Others page, you're able to add comments, or connect directly with the people on the page via anonymous e-mail or by Skype or instant messaging.

From a search results page, you can jump into an ad-hoc community around the topic.

It's also a built-in marketplace. People could post items for sale on the Meet Others pages. It's "Google with Craigslist," Hakia president Melek Pulatkonak told me.

You can connect directly with other searchers.

Since Hakia is a semantic search engine, your search queries don't have to be exact to find a related community. "Flu shot" and "flu vaccine" both should get you to the same place.

If you don't want to be part of the ad-hoc community that Hakia will build around every search term, you can just ignore the Meet Others links, and no one will find you.

There's a rating system for posts on the Meet Others pages, so relevant topics should float to the top of the page. I do worry about the pages being gamed or spammed, but I still like the feature. It could be very useful to be able to connect directly with people looking for the same obscure thing you are.

The feature should launch on Hakia next week.