Last Thursday Google launched its SearchWiki which enables you to customise, contribute to, and comment on Google search results. If you are logged into your i-Google account you can:
- promote results you like and disappear results you don't
- add new results to the front page of a search for a particular term
- add comments against websites that other people logged on to i-google will be able to access when that same website appears in their search results.
SearchWiki is a bid to bring some colour and liveliness to Google's search results, but the tentative way that they have gone about it has drawn criticism from influencial writers in the technology sphere. Michael Arrington of Tech Crunch urged his readers to kill off SearchWiki by opting out of it. The ReadWriteWeb blog called it a 'train wreck' and criticised Google for putting the word 'wiki' into its title, without providing most of the functionality you expect from a wiki.
- copying the website url
- logging on to my i-google account
- searching on the term I want to remember the blogpost by (in this case 'data protection')
- scrolling to the bottom of the results page
- clicking on 'Add a result' and pasting in the website's url
- Delicious creates a page for you that brings together all the resources that you have bookmarked. This page is publicly accessible to allow others to benefit from your bookmarks
- Google does not offer you any home page to gather together the pages you have added, promoted or commmented on using the the SearchWiki. Your sites are scattered under the Google search terms you have added them to. The effects of your promotions and additions will not show in other people's search results. Any comments that you have left against a particular site will, however, be accessible to other i-google users whenever that site appears in their results
How will SearchWiki cope with spam?
Most web 2.0 applications start small, too small to be of interest to spammers. By the time they have grown large enough to attract the spammers attention they have established patterns of behaviour that mean that spam is easy to recognise and deal with. Google SocialWiki is different: the monetary and reputational value of Google search listings mean it is worth spamming from the off.
- Log on to your i-google account
- do a google search for TechCrunch,
- scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on 'all notes for this SearchWiki'
- go back up to the listing for the TechCrunch site and click on the thought bubble beneath the link
- offending the web community and blogsphere by not providing enough social features
- offending companies that pay for their advertising by exposing their websites to criticism and spam when they appear in search results.