Google Searchwiki being Tested

Nov. 01, 2008 | by Dan Goodwin

There’s been a few mentions in the recent blog posts about Google readying “Searchwiki”.  It appears this may now be either live, or gradually being rolled out to users.

Searchwiki is a feature that allows searchers to comment, promote and remove results from search engine results pages.

For example, take a look at the search engine results page below:


This option is identified by the following icon: . On clicking this result you can re-order your results, for example if you often search on a particular phrase but the site you’re looking for always ranks 2nd, you can choose to promote this within your personalised results.

For example a search on “statcounter” shows the official site at position 1, however I can promote the result at position 3 ( so that it appears in first position. Using a brand term like “statcounter” isn’t a great example, however for more generic terms this could be really useful. Especially if you make a lot of recurring searches.


Remove is fairly obvious and is identified by the following icon: . On clicking this the chose result will disappear (in an animated puff of smoke). It will however appear at the bottom of the results page along with a Restore icon , in case you change your mind in the future.


Comments can be added to each result and will be made public, the comment text box appears when you click on the icon: A text box then appears below the result and allows you to enter text.

Saved comments then appear below the result with a timestamp:

As the comment function states “make a public comment” I’m assuming eventually you’ll have an expandable list of comments below the results, currently due to the limited number of people seeing Searchwiki pages I haven’t seen any other comments yet.

The effect of other people’s “remove” & “promote” choices is yet unknown, whether this just appears in your results or if this is able to bias regular results isn’t something entirely clear. I haven’t personally opted into the Searchwiki feature so whether people will be able to opti-in or out will also be interestig to see in the near future. It’s definitly a feature that could be open to abuse by spammers, but i’m sure Google has thought this through. The effect of it will be difficult to tell until more searchers are exposed to the feature.

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    Comments (5)

    • Google SearchWiki - What does it mean for brands? - iCrossing

      [...] We’ve been monitoring it since the beginning of November when we noticed Google bucket testing it, but it’s only been since last week, when it was officially launched, that it’s really been making waves.  Anyone who doesn’t know what it is can read Dan’s explanation of Google’s SearchWiki here. [...]Nov 27, 2008 12:00 pm

    • Jonathan Stewart

      Looks like it's gone live now for pretty much everyone.  The BBC officially announced it on Friday but it took until this morning before I started seeing it.

      Danny Sullivan has provided an excellent analysis, well worth a look.

      @Tonywig - it doesn't look like they'll be using this data to influence SERPs in the short term, although I've read that they haven't ruled it out for the future.Nov 24, 2008 10:07 am

    • nass

      There's not a chance in hell that google will let this influence serps. It's too easy to manipulateNov 23, 2008 04:58 pm

    • Chris Eden

      It seems that i'm getting the Search Wiki when i'm logged in on every search that i'm making. This would obviously make sense as Google can remember your preferences of results based on your history when signed in. I wonder if they plan to roll it out to those users without a Google profile? Looks like yet another way to get more people to give up their details and open a Google profile. Google explain it in more detail below.

      It's definately a brave move but i'm not sure how useful it's going to be. The great thing about using Google is the speed of searching but I think this new feature will lead to people feeling the need to spend time altering their results page. 

      Will they eventually open this up to everyone? I wonder what effect it will have on the really competitive terms such as 'insurance'. If they did there would certainly be a need for a lot more policing to ensure people aren't abusing the system on the higher value terms.

      Should be interesting to see how it develops!Nov 23, 2008 01:21 pm

    • tonywig

      does anyone think that this new search feature from google will affect the way pages are ranked within google? I wonder if this will shift google rankings for large/profitable keywords alot? i found a rundown of how the google searchwiki works at for anyone who hasnt experienced the new google search results look like with searchwiki.Nov 22, 2008 07:20 pm

    Please note: the opinions expressed in this post represent the views of the individual, not necessarily those of iCrossing.

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