Jimmy Wales GOOG's biggest fear, I think not
In the April edition of Fast Company, they claim why Jimmy Wales' Wikia and Wikia Search are supposed to be Google's biggest fear. I don't think Google has anything to worry about, and here's why.
Google has cash. I don't mean normal cash, I mean ridiculous cash. That is the first thing. Putting that aside, the article brings up very good points about the problems with Google. I won't argue with anyone who claims that the most popular search engine by definition will not ever provide the best search results. Quietly Microsoft has built a search engine that gives me more relevant results more quickly 9 times out of 10. Not that I think that any search engine gives me adequately relevant results at all. In fact I think searching is a big waste of time.
Back to the topic. If you have millions of people with their own personal biases manipulating the SERPs, what you will get is something that is way more difficult for the Black Hat SEO people out there to manipulate, but I'm sure they'll find a way, especially with the truth that any really successful search technology will be targeted more than the others and therefore be less relevant. Google has done an incredible job with clever algorithms, but I think they have pushed it as far as they can.
Eurekster has a good idea, in that truthfully, I don't care about the entire internet, I only care about what I care about, but the problem is in the implementation, it is the problem with all social sites. They are too much work.
What everyone is missing is who is populating these social networking sites, Yahoo answers, etc… It is either people who are rich, and don't have to work, or don't have kids, etc… Or they are students, who have tons of time. Not that what they are generating isn't valuable. It definitely is, but to get a true swath of humanity would require a system that could gain my approval without me explicitly having to tag something, or write a review, or add something somewhere, or even clicking a button for up vs down.
Wikia's search will suffer from the same problem. The SERPs will be created by these individuals who are just as corruptable as anyone. Why wouldn't a Black Hat SEO be able to hire people in India, for example, to push their site to the top.
Crawling the whole internet, and then searching everything is going to not be practical very soon. So we need something else. I haven't seen, or been able to figure out what that looks like yet, otherwise I'd be on the cover of fast magazine as google's biggest nightmare. So until someone does something better, Google and its clones are as good as it gets. I'd suggest using live search or ask if you really want relevant results. They will work exactly because no one cares about them.