James Petzke, an 18-year-old from Hailey, has built what he calls the first social search engine, www.lessjunk.org.
Engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing search the entire Internet to produce comprehensive search results. Petzke wanted to increase the quality of results by limiting the number of sites searched.
He designed lessjunk.org using the Google search engine as a base and adding code that allows users to like and dislike content. Taking a cue from social media, he allows users to vote on what sites on a 5,000-site list the search engine scours. Youre only searching the sites actual people think are the best sites on the web, Petzke says.
A search of Butch Otter turned up 85,000 results, vs. 338,000 on Google. The top result on LessJunk was a Wikipedia entry (under several ads); the top one on Google was the governors official site.
Petzke got his start writing code and developing web applications in junior high during the three summers he interned under Jeff Smith at the Blaine County School District. Smith describes his protege as motivated and competent: With minimum supervision, I could rely on James to get the job done in a timely manner.
But it wasnt until he was a senior at Wood River High that Petzke began developing Lessjunk.org. The site went live in May.
As he approaches his first year in college, Petzke has begun to promote his product. With a budget between $800 and $1,000 that he drew from his college fund, Petzke says he has spent about half that on media and news releases.
Harrison Berry: email@example.com