Updated November 22: Since writing this post, Google has turned this feature off and made it an opt-in service through Google Experimental Search.
Update November 24: aaaaaand it’s back.
Last night I noticed a couple of new options on Google search results.
Just to the right of the title of the result are two boxes that allow you to Promote or Remove a result from the search. These choices are then saved and, if you perform the same search in the future, your preferred selections bubble to the top while results you choose to remove as not relevant are removed.
Also new is the ability to annotate the search results, essentially giving you a way to create saved lists of your favorite search results with annotations.
Google calls this new service SearchWiki, but really I think the new features have more in common with social bookmarking sites like delicious or Diigo than wiki’s. Sure, you don’t get the customization or network granularity of delicious or Diigo when it comes to defining your personal network, but certainly the ability to create a highly relevant lists of annotated links using keyword tags is right up the social bookmarking alley. And I suspect it won’t be very long before you will be able to share your search results and annotations with selected Google users.
Google has said this doesn’t affect the results PageRank rankings, but you have to think it will only be a matter of time before the wisdom of the crowds approach wins out and the data collected as a result of peoples choices will be worked into search results or, most likely, the ads that appear with my search results. Not all think this is a good thing, but ultimately making search results more relevant to me is highly desirable.
I think the feature that will prove to be the most disruptive is annotation. Overnight Google has turned their search engine into one gigantic comment engine. Now anyone can add comments about any web resource and make those comments open for the world to see. Talk about transparency. Now that Google has thrown their collective weight behind annotating the web, and made it dead easy to do so, expect the conversation to get a whole lot more interesting as more people take part.
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