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Google kills SearchWiki, Debuts Stars to Personalize Searches

 1:48 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)


Google has introduced a new feature it calls Google stars, allowing them to mark their favorite or best query results or map location results to make sure they are prioritized during future searches. Incidentally, this system will replace the not-so-popular SearchWiki it added to the site at the end of 2008.

Stars are far from being a new concept for the search giant. It already lets users of its Gmail, Google News and Google Reader applications star messages, articles, and blog posts that they like so that they can find them more easily later. For example, if you receive an email that requires you to take an action, you can star it so that — even if more emails push it off the front page of your inbox — you can locate it and any other urgent or important messages with one click.

The stars feature essentially takes the best of Google’s ill-fated SearchWiki service, and leaves the rest. SearchWiki was simply too complex, allowing users to not only re-rank results, but also delete, add and comment on them. This seemed to undermine what the search engine claims to do best: serve you what you want to know before you know what you’re looking for. Users want to be able to depend on the company’s holy algorithm — they don’t want to have to do the work themselves.


JAB Creations

 1:59 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I really liked the ability to remove search results. There are some sites that get good results that never have what I'm searching for plus there are times when I may end up getting distracted and have to deal with something else later returning to a still-in-progress search and would prefer the ability to remove results that did not have the answer or information I was looking for. Oh well...

- John


 3:57 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have just seen this live in all results here in Australia.

I agree the remove result was one of the best features that I had seen recently for results pages.



 4:08 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

The overall site performance, content, UI and user trust are becoming so important to get traffic from SE's making it difficult for the new players.


 6:30 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

SearchWiki: Grand Opening...Grand Closing.


 8:59 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

The overall site performance, content, UI and user trust are becoming so important to get traffic from SE's making it difficult for the new players.

This is how it should be both in life and in websites. Over the past 10 years the learning curve from new player to seasoned vet hasn't changed much though the peek is continually rising. A healthy internet requires the brightest minds to lead the way and to set the example for others to follow. I'm glad Google isn't afraid to close ideas that didn't pan out so that they can make way for new improvements, good job.


 9:15 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I wasn't a fan. Glad to see it go.


 10:18 am on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I can still see Searchwiki from here in India (www.google.com, not google.co.in). May be they have not completely shut it down yet.


 6:25 pm on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

I agree the remove result was one of the best features that I had seen recently for results pages.

Not to mention that it was one of the easiest ways of 'eliminating your competition' form the SERPs :p


 6:45 pm on Mar 4, 2010 (gmt 0)

Anyone found out how to turn it off yet!

I've previously turned off s/wiki to clean things (my serps) up but this lets the new stars through!

Robert Charlton

 9:00 pm on Mar 6, 2010 (gmt 0)

I remember just before personalized results were announced as the default that Google was pushing me very hard to set up SearchWiki. I have one browser with the Google Toolbar installed and active, and it was virtually fighting me, first, by turning on SearchWiki without my permission, and then making it hard for me to turn it off.

I remember, when personalization was announced shortly after, that I assume that SearchWiki might be an indicator that Google wanted to use. I've felt from the beginning that SearchWiki was prone to abuse, and I'm glad to see it go.

The stars remind me slightly of the smiley buttons, but without the mouths. I think they'd be very unreliable signals of popularity to Google, but that Google might be able to use them as one additional correlating factor over time.


 5:34 pm on Mar 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Since replying all my 'Google Stars' have gone!

Guess they could be back as things roll out...

NB. I'm in the UK.


 10:44 pm on Mar 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have got my search-wiki back again now... with no stars.

On all sites - AUS/UK/World.



 10:47 pm on Mar 7, 2010 (gmt 0)

Beware the gimmick. Recently Google is all gimmick and no improvement. Switched to Bing some months back, but I do visit G once a week to see what's going on. And NoScript kill all their cookies at the same time. I am unimpressed.


 11:20 am on Mar 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Never used searchwiki myself, personally I can't see the benefit of removing search results from my pages, if it's a term I search for regularly then I'm not going to click the link anyway, I have a memory so I know what is good and what is not. If it's a one off why would I care!?

If I'm looking at keyword terms to see site positioning there is no way I'll remove a site from the SERP, there's no reason to.

If google is selling this as a way to improve SERPS overall rather than per user then they need to make the interaction more interesting to the user.

Not sure how this star system will work, to me it doesn't seem intuitive, if I'm doing a one off search and I find the site I'm looking for I'm not going to back navigate all of my pages just to "star" the result. We already have a way of remembering websites it's called bookmarking!

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