Last week, we highlighted Microsoft Research’s URank, an experimental search engine interface that allows users to rearrange their search results from Live.com. Now, Garett Rogers reports that Google is slowly releasing a very similar product called SearchWiki, which will allow users to modify their search results in Google Search. Judging from what we have seen about this feature so far, users will be able to move results up and down, hide results, and even suggest their own.
Besides restructuring search results, SearchWiki also looks like it will allow users to add annotations to searches and it seems like these comments can then be made public as well.
It is not clear if Google will consider these changes when it calculates its overall search results, though we assume that Google will surely collect this data and use it in some form or another.
Google hinted at this SearchWiki experiment in a blog post from August and rumors about a digg-style Google Search interface have floated around the Internet for much longer. Google has always released certain experiments to a small sub-set of its users.
However, as Alex Chitu points out, everybody can see a trace of SearchWiki by appending “&swm=2” to the URL of a search results page. This leads us to believe that Google might be planning for a wider rollout of this feature in the near future.
If you would like to see this new functionality in action, Justin Hileman recorded a short screencast that demonstrates these experimental features.