RealTime IT News

Google Wikifies; Build Your Own Results

Google has built an empire using its famous PageRank algorithms and other technology to generate search results. Now, it's giving users the option to be more directly involved with results by way of its SearchWiki.

The latest offering from Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) lets users customize search result rankings and add comments to results.

In a blog post, Google said SearchWiki might be particularly useful for repeat searches, like a favorite vacation resource site, to make sure it shows up near the top of results for, say, the term "vacation."

You can also add notes about the site to help you remember why it was useful. You have to have a Google account (free) and be logged in, to use SearchWiki. You can also mark sites you don't want to see in results for a particular search and they wont' appear in future sessions.

Google said any individual's customization using SearchWiki has no bearing on results other Google users get. The customization also won't apply if you're not logged in. But SearchWiki does give you the option to see notes made by other users for the same search results, a restaurant site for example. Google said all notes are visible to other users along with your Google account name, so there is no privacy option; i.e. the notes are always available for other Google users to see.

A simple click opens a text box to add notes. You can also add the URL of a site or sites you want to see in future search results for a specific term. The sites you select in SearchWiki have a little green arrow next to them so you can identify them as ones you've selected previously.

In its blog post, Google said the SearchWiki 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." It's also increasingly crowded among search providers offering wiki tools to users.

Other search companies offer more customized search. OneRiot, which uses Yahoo's BOSS (Build Your Own Search Service) infrastructure, said it prioritizes search results based on the current popularity of results in its community of users.

One high profile Google competitor, Cuil, started by former Google execs, said its technology scours the Web differently to expose content (Web sites), that don't typically show up as high in results using traditional search engines.