As Google's algorithms do what humans can't -- scale
-- community-based searches seemed like something Google would not be
After all, communities are
made of people who tend to be fickle, slow and inherently lazy. They
can't handle or process what Google's machines can do. Yet, Google is harnessing communities with Google Co-op, a concept that lets users
contribute their knowledge and expertise to improve search results for
everyone. Google also announced, on Wednesday, Google Desktop 4 and
Google Notebook, which allows people to share their notes about their
When I asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt what was the most exciting product launch in the last year, he said "Google Co-op." In his words: "It's a powerful idea" because it gets people to help
Google structure the data. Through a co-op, "user-generated data
becomes part of the answer," Schmidt said. think this is a brilliant idea for Google to tap into
the more arcane searches. Among the digerati, these searches are called
the "long tail." Getting to the long tail of searches, the results of
the most convoluted or obscure search queries, is something that humans
can help with.
"Machine algorithms aren't good at it," Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering at Google, said to me. Great," I said. "Humans 1, machines 0."
Eustace gave me a little smile, with a look that said, but it won't be for long.
"For the time being, the human judgment is still much better," he said.
For more on Google Co-op, read Net Sense. Read Net Sense on MarketWatch