Google Lets (Some) Users Adjust Search Results

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If you’ve ever thought, “Hey, I could give better search results than that,” here’s your chance: one of Google’s experiments is allowing users to vote sites up (or off) results pages.  They can also add completely new sites to the list.

Google Lets (Some) Users Adjust Search ResultsE
Google Lets (Some) Users Adjust Search Results

Users’ work will, at this point, only be reflected when they’re logged into their own Google accounts – there’s no helping out (or messing it up for) the rest of us, in other words. 

The idea of expanding this closed experiment into the mainstream has created a lot of interesting possibilities, however.

If one person was able to affect everyone’s results, spammers would probably ruin Google within days.  Don’t think that the company doesn’t realize this, though, so users might instead have to achieve some sort of critical mass in order to change anything.

There’s also the chance that Google will simply use all of this input to update its algorithms; the experiment is really only a speedier and more direct reflection of what already happens.

The least exciting option is that the experiment will just remain a matter of each individual searcher fine-tuning his or her own results. 

Actually, the least exciting option is that the experiment will get canceled, but the individualized search route isn’t much better; given the existence of bookmarks and human memory, it seems like a lot of work going towards very little gain.

We’ll be sure to report any updates relating to this experiment (which was first spotted by Haochi Chen); it might become yet another abandoned idea, but could also represent a major change in the way Google works.

Google Lets (Some) Users Adjust Search Results
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  • http://www.Kate-Jody.com Mr Jody Hudson

    It looks like the experiment is already over… I signed in and I do not get the up and down symbols to use after my search results.

    Has this already ended?


  • http://newscritique.blogspot.com/ Mohan

    What if some Myspace group or Yahoo group votes up their common site to the top position.

    I think Google has reached the end of its experiments!

  • http://religioustolerance.org Bruce Robinson

    At first this sounds like an interesting proposal.

    However, some people’s motives would not necessarily be pure.

    I am webmaster of ReligiousTolerance.org, a web site that describes hundreds of religious, spiritual and moral topics from all points of view — like abortion access, equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations, etc.

    Some religious liberals really hate our site because we explain the religious conservative point of view; some religious conservatives hate our site because we also explain the liberal point of view. So lots of liberals and conservatives would really want to hurt us. Directly affecting Google searches would be one way of doing this.

    We receive many hate Emails and the occasional death threat. See http://religioustolerance.org/comments.htm

    Bruce Robinson

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