Much like many of Google’s recent triumphant new products the market, Google SearchWiki appears to have gone the way of Notebook and others before it. Launched amongst a wave of controversy from search marketeers and brand reputation experts about 16 months ago, Searchwiki which allowed people to remove or influence their search results based on their preferences has now been replaced with a significantly refined system Google have branded stars or starred results.
Source: Search Engine Land
Starred results will be seperated from Google’s algorithmic results (appearing above the traditional organic results) and using this feature won’t change the traditional 10 organic results that Google returns in reply to a search. The starred results is also integrated with Google Bookmarks and the Google Toolbar for quicker access to starred items.
It should also be noted that starred results will also work across other Google channels ie if you star a result in Google Maps, for example, it may also appear as a starred result the next time you search on Google.com. For people who did use SearchWiki, Google also says that all your edits will be preserved in your Google account.
In my opinion its hardly a surprise that Google have taken this step. The Google landscape of 16 months ago was a very different beast to that which we use today, and new technologies such as Personalised Search, Real time search and Caffeine have meant that we are looking at a much more different and dynamic framework than that which was the case when SearchWiki launched.
Further to that, I would suggest the uptake of this has never been as big as Google had expected. Perhaps this is down to the subtlety of its incorporation or merely because people like to keep things simple – however Google are now utilising other and in my opinion more advanced ways of providing people with social feedback such as Google Social Circle results.
I would suggest this wont be the last of Google product culls in 2010, certainly I can’t help thinking Wave has a limited lifecycle particularly given the recent introduction of Buzz. However as regards SearchWiki, I for one won’t really miss it – and by the sound of it neither will alot of people. I will close with Google’s changing perception of Wiki taken from Matt McGee’s post on Search Engine Land
As for SearchWiki, at the time of its launch, Google told Search Engine Land:
Before we launched SearchWiki, hundreds of thousands of people tested it and the feedback was positive.
But in today’s announcement of the new Stars in Search, Google is sending a somewhat different message:
In our testing, we learned that people really liked the idea of marking a website for future reference, but they didn’t like changing the order of Google’s organic search results.
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