I found this on TechCrunch today.
If you saw this one coming, give yourself a very large prize. Google is experimenting with Digg style voting features on search results that allow users to vote up or bury search results they see.
This is actually a good idea, but I could find no record, either at TechCrunch, on Google’s own website, or at Marketing Pilgrim
, which also ran a story on the topic, of how to sign up for this experiment.
I like Google Labs because you can test out new features that Google is experimenting with. One feature I really like is the Google Suggest feature, which provides keyword suggestions when you start typing keywords into the Google search box. That's a useful feature. The voting feature looks interesting, but it does have some potential problems.
One potential problem is spam. Spammers and blackhat SEOs could game the system in the same way that they've gamed PageRank, which will totally ruin it for all of us. Another danger is that the voting could screw with some of Google's own algorithms and either water them down or render them virtually ineffective. That could be why they've decided to make the results only affect your own personalized results. It is a requirement, by the way, that you be logged in to your account in order to use the feature. But I couldn't find any way to use it even when I was signed in.
Another benefit to Google, and this could be the real reason behind the experiment, is this: If users vote up or down certain results on their searches and this experiment works the way it is supposed to work then Google will know more about each person's preferences. That means more personalized results and better results for each user's personalized preferences. Once Google nails down precisely what you are looking for when you type in "Rabbit" - the furry little creature or the German-made automobile - then they'll be able to target their customers' pay per click advertising to you better, which will increase the value of the clicks. It's all food for thought.