Google today launched a rather massive change to its core search product.
SearchWiki adds some innocuous buttons to your search results page, enabling Digg -style voting and Friendfeed -style commenting on each result.
I think this feature might prove valuable for some users, at least the bad spellers among us and those who prefer to repeatedly type the same search term into Google rather than use bookmarks or their memory.
However this feature becomes massively valuable for Google if enough people bother to vote for their favourite sites and add comments. Harnessing the collective wisdom of all those users is a great way for Google to improve upon its not-so-secret-anymore search algorithm.
Currently your own SearchWiki wisdom impacts only your own search results, nobody else’s. But the words chosen to explain SearchWiki do leave the door open for Google to evolve into a social search engine; “Customize your search results with your rankings, deletions, and notes — plus, see how other people using Google have tailored their searches.”
Personally, I’m not sure how much I want strangers (or bots) to influence (or game) my search results.
But I might want my friends and social networks to influence some of my search results.
If only Google could somehow identify all my friends in all my social networks, and keep track of their searching activity. Wait a minute…
SearchWiki + OpenSocial = mainstream social search.
The web is
the their platform.