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Tuesday, 25 November 2008 05:58

Google launches SearchWiki for personalizing your search results

Google's new SearchWiki is a way for you to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results. Stored in your Google account, these searches can be recalled for future use.

Probably like many other Web users, I use Google and Wikipedia as my first ports of call when seeking information.

I use them both heavily. Indeed, I link to Wikipedia regularly in iTWire articles as a handy reference source for definition of terms used in the articles (as for the term "SEO" used towards the end of this very article).

Wikipedia provides a good way to look up specific terms like "ADSL" or "nuclear fusion" and expect to get (in most cases) a reasonably balanced targeted article about the topic.

Google is the undisputed king of the search engines. Whether you regard it as a good or bad thing, it's hard to imagine Web life without Google.

If you search for the same ("ADSL" or "nuclear fusion") using Google, you'll get a far wider set of results returned.

You have to examine them all individually before deciding if you've found what you were seeking. Some people think this is a bad thing, and are trying to come up with search engines that automatically categorize, order and display the search results in a more meaningful way.

On 20th November 2008, Google launched SearchWiki with the theme of "make search your own." They are phasing out an experimental search interface, called SearchMash, that they used to test the new interface.

SearchWiki, say Google's Cedric Dupont, Product Manager, and Corin Anderson, Software Engineer, is "a way for you to customize search by re-ranking, deleting, adding, and commenting on search results."

"With just a single click you can move the results you like to the top or add a new site. You can also write notes attached to a particular site and remove results that you don't feel belong. These modifications will be shown to you every time you do the same search in the future."

You can post comments to yourself, but interestingly will be able to view comments posted by others.


SearchWiki is available to only if you have a Google account and are signed in to it, since they store your changes in your Google Account.

The millions of users of Gmail and Google Docs and will already have an account, and it's a simple matter to set one up.

"This new feature is an example of how search is becoming increasingly dynamic, giving people tools that make search even more useful to them in their daily lives," say Google.

Just because you and others have stored their personalized searches away in their accounts, it does not mean that ordinary Google searches will be affected in any way.

This will be a major relief to all those webmasters and SEO specialists out there who strive to get their sites high up in Google's search rankings.

I certainly hope that Google keeps on vigorously researching the presentation and management of search results, because one thing's for sure: the amount of information out there on the Web keeps on increasing in leaps and bounds. Unless we can access and manage it more smartly we'll be buried under the relentlessly surging tsanami of data.

I certainly plan to make good use of SearchWiki, and bet that some of you will too.

You can watch one of their lead engineers, Amay, demonstrate a few ways to use SearchWiki in the following short video:



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Tony Austin

Worked at IBM from 1970, for a quarter century, then founded Asia/Pacific Computer Services to provide IT consulting and software development services (closed company at end of 2013). These says am still involved with IT as an observer and commentator, as well as attempting to understand cosmology, quantum mechanics and whatever else will keep my mind active and fend off deterioration of my grey matter.



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