Google To Launch Customizable Search Tonight

By Josh Catone
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A couple of months ago, Google vice president Marissa Mayer wrote about Google’s views on the future of web search. One of the things she talked about was the ability to personalize the search experience. “Search engines of the future will be better in part because they will understand more about you, the individual user,” she wrote.

One way they could do that, is by allowing users to rate, reorder, and comment on search results, teaching the search engine over time what types of sites you like. Google tonight will be opening up to the public an experimental feature they’ve been testing for a few months called SearchWiki, reports CNET.

SearchWiki lets users reorder and remove results, and leave comments on specific links. Google will remember changes that people make to search results pages, and subsequent searches will display results with the user’s customizations and notes. Users will also have the option of seeing how other searchers have rated and reordered search results and view other people’s notes, making search results a collaborative effort.

In some ways, the process is reminiscent of Wikia Search, the collaborative search engine launched by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, which allows searchers to edit, annotate, and comment on search results. We also reported on a project in October from Microsoft Research Japan called “U Rank,” that allowed users to rank and reorder search results in a collaborative environment.

According to CNET, Google seemed open using human input gathered via SearchWiki to improve their general search algorithm, though stopped short of saying that was something they were planning to do. “We don’t close any doors,” said Cedric Dupont, product manager for Google’s SearchWiki, who said they look at all sorts of signals regarding how to better tweak their search algorithm. “Search is adapting to the Internet as it becomes a more participatory medium. Now you have people telling us specific things about how they’d like to see their search results.”

The video below demonstrates SearchWiki in action.

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  • What would this mean for SEO? How can web designers optimize a site based on someone else’s personal preferences?

    Any thoughts?

  • This should improve the content of the web.

    To answer Manna i think they SEO will get you there but if your page stinks people will bump you down.

    This should force webmsaters to improve content.

  • I am currently seeing this feature on Chrome but not on Firefox or IE…wonder why?

  • saulyx

    Hey, I’m sure that people will start abusing it if it influences SEO, blackhat has done loads of harm already and if this works the way we all think – it will be worse then blackhat, bots, perl scripts, hidden buttons, etc…

    Any different opinion?

  • Personally I like to use my search results totally unchanged so this is not something that come handy to me, at least I don’t see the usefulness at this moment. Also, from a SEO perspective, you work to put a website somewhere on the first positions and then your work gets messed because of this? OK, I don’t know how much this will influence SERP ranking. This I think is part of that behavioral search they were speaking. If a lot of people will send a particular page down, means it’s bad so it will get de-ranked, I presume.

  • jimmy

    It does NOT affect google search rankings in *ANY* way, so does absolutely nothing for SEO, which is a good thing, I can only imagine the abuse this thing would get. It is only used for your personal session and may in the future rank pages differently when using your own PC but does not affect anyone else.

  • Steven

    Wait, so I can now waste my time organizing Google’s search index for them so that the next time I search for the same thing I can see my “custom” results?
    How many people are constantly searching for the same thing that they need a custom set of results for the next time? If you need a “custom” set of links, there’s this thing called bookmarks built into your browser.

    Wika Search was a flop as was other attempts at this sort of thing (anyone remember Rollyo?). Integrating similar features into Google won’t change the the basic nature of people… they’re lazy and/or have better things than donating their time to make the search they just did better for the next guy.