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.