For some reason Google always saves its big releases for those days when I am busy. Could it be that they are fearful of my criticism? Or merely coincidence? Whatever the reason I couldn’t help but push other things to one side and comment on Google’s new SearchWiki. Basically, when you are logged into your Google account at google.com (not currently google.co.uk) you can change the results you find on your home page: promoting results, hiding results, commenting on results. Whilst it only affects your results page, you can see how other people have ranked/commented on items, and it seems highly likely that Google will eventually incorporate the findings in its general search results.
SearchWiki is by no means a new idea, sites such Aftervote (now Scour) have done it all before, the difference this time is the amount of people Google can put to work on the idea. At the time of writing this blog a search for ‘Google’ had already had 908 people make notes; it would probably have taken Aftervote weeks if not months to get that many comments on a single search term. So what is the collective wisdom regarding the best search result for the term ‘google’ entered into Google.com…that’ll be Google.com. Personally I would have thought that people are more likely to be searching for one of Google’s other services or information about Google rather than the page they are already on, but noone ever accused the public of being overly bright.
As someone who likes to do his bit for collective wisdom, I have made steps to clean up one of my most regular search ‘webometrics’:
Just the three adjustments: promotion of the most important site, questioning the validity of a colleague’s page, and the removal of a character who has no right to call himself a webometrician. But I am sure everyone would agree that such amendments improve the page astronomically.
Whilst I am sure that shere weight of numbers will prevent the spamming of the top searches, it will be interesting to monitor the spam on the fringes. Will people be looking at the notes other have made? I will. SearchWiki seems as though it will give great insight into what people think of different sites, I just hope Google adds it to their API.
UPDATE: Whilst I initially said it was only available on Google.com, it’s seemingly not as simple as that. When I log into Google.com with my webometrics account I get SearchWiki, when I log in with my gmail account I don’t get SearchWiki! It seems as though they are taking steps to restrict access geographically.