Google SearchWiki makes me nervous

New Google wiki results screenshotTime for some more Google, but a bit less sarcasm. Google recently announced (and put live) their ‘SearchWiki’ feature. Tagline: “Make search your own”. This makes me uncomfortable for three reasons:

Everything Google does makes me nervous.

They are basically the search engine. What else is there? Cuil? Get outta here! Yahoo!? What! About! The! Shouting!? MSN Live search, the search engine of ‘soccer moms’ everywhere? Nah, Google are it. Even on a little site like this where I pimp myself out to the odd social network and I have readers coming in from RSS; Google brings in the bulk of traffic. Anything they change effects all webmasters. If it doesn’t, then I don’t think they’re very good webmasters. This is something that could potentially alter current SEO thinking.

Visual clutter.

Now this is being fussy, perhaps the designer in me speaking, but I think a large part of the reason why people use Google over other services is that it just does the job well without much visual clutter. Try looking at the initial Google search page compared with the Yahoo one. It’s a lot tidier. These new buttons next to every search result makes the whole thing a lot busier.

They’ll kill what I love.

Currently you only see the changes that you make using the search wiki but things can change. I find most of the best stuff on the web through services like reddit, Stumbleupon and digg (well, less so digg these days). If google decide they want the user-generated rankings to effect the global search rankings than this could effectively kill off the other guys.

Obviously it’s early days for this feature and I’ll be honest; I personally feel uncomfortable using it. If a search result isn’t in the top #10 then it’s for a reason. I don’t want to change anything. Lets see if in a few months if I’m any less reactionary about it.

The Official Google blog offers a announcement here, with an explanatory video featuring their chirpy as usual engineers.

3 Responses to “Google SearchWiki makes me nervous”

  1. Jeff Savage Says:

    I can’t see Google ever letting user generated rankings influence their algorithms much. It would open up a whole can o’worms by allowing spammers to influence the search results even more than they do now.

  2. Rich Says:

    I love how you criticise Yahoo for shouting straight after saying “Get Outta Here”, Ian.

    SearchWiki stinks to me of a bastard unnatural offspring of internet search and “your opinion matters” reality TV. Except here, your vote almost certainly isn’t going to affect anything other than your own results – and that Google isn’t just after your fifty pee, it wants you to make an account.

    You’re totally right about the terrifying omniprescence of the big G though. It seems like Google’s increasingly set on proving that just because it’s not being outright evil, it can still be fucking sinister.

  3. Ian Says:

    It’s all about the !’s per square-inch, Rich 😉

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