Internet Search 2.0 by Google (17,637 views)
Google has done it again.
Once again they have re-invented internet search, and although the feature is too new to see trends (yet), my prediction is that it will become a raging success once people get the hang of it.
But it also means this:
While in the past search results were subject to the user’s scrutiny in a private setting, with no one else (but Google) knowing which search results a user deemed *worthy* visiting, re-visiting, or choosing as their solution provider, these choices now all of a sudden (can) become very public.
Like anything else on the web one can comment on, from movies to cars, from new tech gadgets to retail stores, users can now directly comment not only on the quality of the search results in relation to their searches, but can practically leave ANY comment they want about a particular result (maybe regarding customer service, shipping times, anything-else-you-can-imagine) right then and there.
Meaning: one unhappy client or website visitor can right then and there insert a potentially derogatory comment about your business/service/website and thus prevent other users from even considering your site (the power of the written word on the internet).
I am not a fan of flame wars, neither am I known to leave negative comments about people/businesses/etc on the web (unless they really, really deserve it and even then I give them the benefit of the doubt – everybody can have a bad day); but I do read reviews and have based some of my decisions on the combined opinion of others.
I am yet to find some kind of *defense mechanism* to rebut negative comments (ebay’s rating system comes to mind), but other than being able to give it a *thumbs down* and/or report it as inappropriate and have a Google team review it you’re stuck with it until they have done so.
Although (as of now) the *promote* button will promote a selected search result only for me (the user) personally, I am certain that Google will take these selections into account when calculating search result pages in the future, similar to the way they are already applying their proprietary quality score to landing pages. The more people *promote* a certain link, the higher it will eventually rank.
The most comprehensive compilation of the new feature can be found here: Google SearchWiki 101: An Illustrated Guide
We better make sure we keep ’em users really, really happy.