Google is testing out something new. They are testing in a select group a new option for the searcher to influence the search results they get when they enter certain keywords. If you like a site that comes up, you vote for it. If you think it sucks, you can vote against.
This experiment lets you influence your search experience by adding, moving, and removing search results. When you search for the same keywords again, you’ll continue to see those changes. If you later want to revert your changes, you can undo any modifications you’ve made. Note that this is an experimental feature and may be available for only a few weeks.
At this point, the thing is pretty limiting. It only works for yourself, linking your "votes" in with your Google account. So, it completely removes the social component from it. But, think about what Google could do with this thing if they perfect it and unleash it en mass.
Jason Calacanis, from Mahalo, should take notice. Mahalo is a human-powered search engine. I got an opportunity to listen to Jason speak out in Seattle. He openly bashed the search engines like Google for becoming rife with search engine spam. He pimped Mahalo as the answer. All the search results returned by Mahalo are moderated by real live people. I’m not sure how well Mahalo can scale out and I certainly don’t see it as a real threat to Google.
But, imagine if Google perfects their voting system and then links up the data collectively. Holy crap, batman! Mahalo is dead.
With the sheer number of people who use and trust Google, imagine if all these people collectively voted on sites they saw as credible for their search terms. It would filter out search engine spam. Obviously, the system could be gamed and something would need to be done about that, but the nature of the "social" aspect of it would self-police the system much like Wikipedia does today.
So, right now, its kind of stupid. In the future? Potentially ground breaking.