Seems to me Google has done this with Google Co-Op, where they're using humans with "specific expertise" to suggest and tag authoritative sites. Other humans subscribe, and perhaps their usage patterns become a measure of quality. When results become good enough, they appear on the main page.
Strikes me that this is a hybrid people-seeded/algo-driven variant of TrustRank. The refinments to Google's health and medical results produced by this system are impressive.
Using a human-selected set of results as a seed, btw, goes back to Google's early days. I feel that they owe a lot of their initial quality to the directories, Yahoo and then ODP, that they were able to spider.
They're probably always looking for dependable seeding mechanisms to provide cores for TrustRank-type overlays to their algo.
[edited by: Robert_Charlton at 4:06 am (utc) on Aug. 26, 2006]