Google SearchWiki: brands need to watch & listen

 

 

SearchWiki results and comments for a search on "Google SearchWiki"SearchWiki results and comments for a search on

 

* Updated * 

There are two complementary evolutionary paths for SearchWiki: that taken by the Google engineers and the one cut by users. The comments / conversations may be poor quality at the moment, but who is to say how people will find ways to use the feature in interesting ways. 

Over the last week, there’s been a great deal interest and not a little froth on tech blogs about the Google SearchWiki, the feature in Google that lets you edit your own results and leave publicly viewable comments about them if you are signed in with a Google account.

It’s a highly interesting development, although some of the controversy has been a little overblown: people hunting out reasons to be irritated. 

The head of search at iCrossing UK, Jonathan Stewart has posted an analysis of the new service from both a search and social point of view, which incorporates some feedback I gave on the social media and PR front. 

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.

Google have stated that personal result manipulation won’t be used to determine the results for others – at least not in the short term – so the standard SEO rules will still apply for a while. What’s really causing problems is the amount of comment abuse that’s appearing – either in the form of spam, utterly inane conversations (a la Youtube), or blatently obscene and unmoderated abuse.

Essentially, Jonathan feels this is a “wait and see” issue. Google is likely to use the information from the way people use SearchWiki in the way it delivers its main results – but claims not to be yet. 

The most interesting thing from my point of view is the comments feature. Interesting because it represents a new social space, albeit one which users have to hunt out rather than it appearing front and centre on Google search results. 

There are two complementary evolutionary paths for SearchWiki: that taken by the Google engineers and the one cut by users. The comments / conversations may be poor quality at the moment, but who is to say how people will find ways to use the feature in interesting ways. 

: : If you can’t find the comments feature – and it’s not obvious to everyone – then Jonathan provides the following step-by-step:

  • Make sure you’re signed into a Google account
  • Type a query into Google, and then scroll to the bottom of the page
  • Click on the “See all notes for this SearchWiki link”
  • Immediately underneath the URL of each website in the search results, there is a link that tells you how many comments have been left. Click on that
  • Immediately underneath the URL of each website in the search results, there is a link that tells you how many comments have been left. Click on that
  • James Lappin on TFPL also has a great analysis of what the SearchWiki means. He sees it primarily as a social play by Google, very much with an eye to the usefulness of services like delicious.

    One comment

    1. Simon Collister

      Didn’t Google introduce a comment feature for Google News last year? The idea being users could contribute to ‘official’ stories? I’ve not seen it since it was launched so I guess it was shelved??

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