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.