08. 02. 2007
iRazoo human-powered search engine to compete with Mahalo
I'm not sure how I feel about human-powered search engines. If I had to choose between computer-powered results full of irrelevant links and spam, and results generated by random people, I'd take my chances with the non-human option. Luckily, you don't really have to choose, since you always have Google as a fallback.
It's interesting to see how different companies are approaching this idea of human-generated search results. Whereas Mahalo, Jason Calacanis' new project, uses a submission system where the company screens each submission before acceptance and publication, iRazoo, a new search engine, offers what appears to be a much more open method for us to influence search results: we, the unruly masses, can recommend sites. And we're encouraged to do so by being awarded points that we can use to purchase goods.
Though it's still way too early to predict if any offerings in this new arena of search will hit a nerve with users, I'm much more inclined at the moment to root for Mahalo, which at least attempts to limit human influence in a way that will lead to higher quality result pages. With Mahalo, you participate by joining the Mahalo Greenhouse where you submit search result pages which are then reviewed by Mahalo. If accepted, they pay you $10 to $15 for your page. Mahalo's goal is to collect human-generated search result pages for 10,000 search terms, and the masses who don't submit via their Greenhouse are limited to making recommendations of favorite links. In theory, at least, it all sounds very orderly. Who wouldn't prefer curated search results if it saves time, gets rid of the junk that crowds most search result pages, and brings you to what you're looking for a little faster?
I tried a few searches on both sites and found that most of my searches weren't yet covered, so I only got Google results. Obviously, it'll take some time to populate these search engine sites with enough results for people to consider them as a starting point for search.