What if Google mixes up with Digg?
Sometimes trying to find something through Google can be a frustrating event. Some search terms deliver more spam than useful results, making sifting through the list a tedious chore. Other times Google doesn't come up with any results at all, so its off to Yahoo, Answers and whatnot. Now what if users could cast votes on their search results like on Digg? Or even better: the search engine tracks the useful (=used!) links itself? Aftervote claims to do just that! So, is it time to say goodbye to Google? Well, maybe, but I'm not sure yet...
First, aftervote (formerly known as "younanimous") is still in beta, so results can differ from day to day as I found out. Features are being added (and removed for as far as I can tell), and results may not yet be consistent. But it does show promise. How does it work? It takes the results from Google, Yahoo and MSN; weigh these against a passive voting database, based on user's actual choices and present them in that order. But you can also actively vote a site up or down in the list, or filter spam sites from the list. You can adjust the weight you attach to Google, Yahoo and MSN as well. It also figures in Alexa data, Google pagerank and domain age. A flexible and promising system.
But will I throw out Google for aftervote? Not yet. Maybe not at all. But it does look like aftervote will stay on my list of search engines, and that in itself is a remarkable accomplishment, since I tend to be rather loyal (it took me ages to switch from AltaVista to Google for example!). As aftervote is still in beta, I don't know how things will turn out in a few weeks and months, when user votes will have more impact on the search results, and I think this will be interseting to watch. So far it has come up with some very useful links that I didn't uncover using Google, but the same can be said the other way around. It's interesting to see how this site will work out once more people start to vote (the "Digg-effect"), so I'll keep using it. Maybe you should give it a try as well!