This article is interesting:

Google’s experiment that allows users to vote and annotate search results is back and this time it has a name: Google SearchWiki. Justin Hileman is one of the lucky people who has access to the experimental feature: “Things are a bit smoother this time. Moving results is a nice, polished animation. I can’t wait for more community features to show up.”

Garett Rogers noticed some new messages related to SearchWiki in Google’s translation console. Google describes the service as a way to “customize your search results with your rankings, deletions, and notes — plus, see how other people using Google have tailored their searches”. You can promote or demote search results, add new web pages to your search results, post comments and read other people’s comments. It’s not clear whether user votes influence the overall ranking algorithm, but it’s likely that this is not the case.

SearchWiki is not yet available to all users, but you can see a small trace by appending “&swm=2” to the URL of a search results page: an inappropriate header for “all SearchWiki notes”.

The new feature is a more transparent way to personalize search results; this time, Google allows users to decide which search results are the most relevant and to share those findings with other users. Instead of bookmarking the results or saving them in Google Notebook, you can make them more visible on a search results page and find them when you search later. Unfortunately, Google’s interface will become cluttered unless Google decides to hide the new options until you click on a link like “Edit the search results”.

Further reading:
* Help page for the initial experiment from last year
* Edit search results FAQ

{ Screenshot courtesy of Keith Dsouza. }

by Tom
December 13, 2008