Hshtags Search Engine: The Google Search of Social Media

Hshtags is a new search engine from developer Kim Goulbourne that is designed to help users easily navigate the mass onslaught of hashtags, which have become a nearly ubiquitous utility of the social Web. The universal hashtag search client, launched in September, provides access to all the content posted with a specific hashtag from an array of social platforms including Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube (support for Vine and Google+ is expected soon).

Goulbourne is a front-end developer for New York digital agency Wondersauce. The idea for Hshtags originated during her senior year at Savannah College of Art and Design.

“I was interested in the concept of designing something based around social networks and keywords. At first the idea started off as just categorizing posts based on keywords, allowing a user to then select a category and explore posts,” she says. “I revisited the concept months later and Hshtags evolved into a tool for searching through social media using hashtags.”

“While the process of creating a search engine that scours the enormous databases of these social networks for hashtags is huge endeavor, using the app is not,” reports Digital Trends.

“All you do is sign up and authenticate Hshtags with your accounts (it only wants public information), plug in the term you’d like to see, and Hshtags pulls up the respective information for you. Users can filter as necessary (i.e., maybe you only want to see hashtags from Flickr and Facebook), and are also able to follow and categorize your activity so you can reference your favorite searches. It’s somewhat reminiscent of HashTraffic, which also tries to unite Web-wide hashtag conversations.”

While detailed analytics are not yet available, the app is getting a lot of international use, according to Goulbourne, with numerous brand-related hashtags on Twitter, descriptions on Instagram, and randomness on Facebook.

“I think a hashtag is such a robust device when it comes to having global conversations on one topic in the social realm,” notes Goulbourne. “They are easy ways to open dialogue on particular topics and strong promotional tools for brands or companies who are looking to build and analyze conversations with consumers around their product.”

“More than once I’ve heard ‘it’s the Google search of social media,'” she says.