Recently I started seeing stars on all my Google search results and I have to tell you, I am confused. I googled Google Stars and got a result which wasn't starred. Does that mean it isn't good? While I research, you may be interested in an excerpt from this article which may clarify what is going on:
Google's focus on personalized search has led the company to develop a number of useful features promoting an individual user experience. In the next few days, users should see the newest Google search development rolling out, called Stars. Current Gmail, Reader, Docs, and News users will recognize the stars feature, which allows them to mark important e-mails, documents, and other content, to find easily at a later time. Because Google has implemented the stars feature in so many of its other apps, extending stars to search results is a natural move. By focusing on personalized search, Google caters to its diverse user-base and continues to improve the search experience.
So now if I starred something in Google Reader, will it show up in search as a starred result? I am already seeing results with stars in my results and I am not sure why. Did a tiny gremlin use my Google account and go on some sort of star clicking spree?
But according to the article - I shouldn't be confused. Check out the following excerpt - keeping in mind of course this is a non-starred result.
Using Stars is simple - an empty star marker will appear next to every search result. Once a result is starred by a user, it appears at the top of the search results the next time the item is Googled, under a special "starred results" heading. Users can select multiple results for the topics they search, and recall them later without searching through multiple pages to find what they're looking for. Essentially, Stars is a bookmarking tool specifically for the Google search engine. You'll no longer need to bookmark a page using your browser - good news for users who have hundreds of bookmarked sites that may disappear with one wrong click. Starred sites will sync with the Google Toolbar as well as the Bookmarks app, creating a more streamlined user experience.
So wait, now stars are bookmarks? And the experience is somehow streamlined? This is good to hear because I was about to switch to Bing - (hmm, I wonder what happened to Alta-Vista?). You know what is really funny? When I googled it just now, it's URL came back starred.
It gets better - Google is phasing out SearchWiki - do you get the feeling the marketing team wasn't involved in naming this product?
Check it out:
Google's first attempt at user-personalized search, SearchWiki, will be phased out as Stars is phased in. SearchWiki had good intentions; its main draw was allowing users to move search results up or down based on personal preference. While it seems like a simple and effective feature, SearchWiki didn't really catch on with Google's basic users. On the official announcement of Stars, Google product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Matthew Watson wrote, "In our testing, we learned that people really liked the idea of marking a website for future reference, but they didn't like changing the order of Google's organic search results. With stars, we've created a lightweight and flexible way for people to mark and rediscover web content." Stars is seemingly foolproof, and is a simple way for users of all technical levels to enjoy the features Google has to offer.
Apparently if this is fool proof I am a fool - because I haven't figured out why there are a whole bunch of starred results in my searches. And I better spend some time this weekend wrapping my head around this whole star thing because it seems - like it or not, Superstars may be on their way giving us multicolored constellations mixed into our search results. And I thought my head hurt a lot now.
Google Stars - life used to be so simple.