A few months ago, we wrote a post about the future of Web search. Specifically, we talked about a new feature that Google was experimenting with at the time. Well, that experiment has now hit prime time and Google has announced its “Search Wiki” offering officially.
From the official Google Blog:
Today we’re launching SearchWiki, a way for you to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results. With just a single click you can move the results you like to the top or add a new site. You can also write notes attached to a particular site and remove results that you don’t feel belong. These modifications will be shown to you every time you do the same search in the future. SearchWiki is available to signed-in Google users. We store your changes in your Google Account. If you are wondering if you are signed in, you can always check by noting if your username appears in the upper right-hand side of the page.
The changes you make only affect your own searches. But SearchWiki also is a great way to share your insights with other searchers. You can see how the community has collectively edited the search results by clicking on the “See all notes for this SearchWiki” link.
What’s interesting about this feature is that it allows users to take more control over how they experience the Web. Google has become the de facto starting point on the Web for many users, and much like our mobile phones have erased our need/ability to remember phone numbers, Google is gradually eroding our need to remember URLs. The feature allows you to move the sites and search results you find most relevant up to the top of your search results pages, speeding up your Web surfing and making sure your favorite sites are easy to find. It’s sort of like bookmarking your search results—if you find a result on say, page 8 of the results but want to make sure that result is easy to find again, you simply click the little “up” arrow to move the result to your front page. Similarly, you can demote results that you didn’t find useful by clicking the little “down” arrow next to a particular result.
We’ve just begun playing around with this feature, and I’m curious to see how much we’ll actually use it. Will it be one of those “nice-to-haves” that doesn’t end up changing the game all that much? Or will we soon be asking ourselves, “What did we ever do without search Wiki?”
Learn more at the Google Blog.