I'm just not digging it enough...
For a few months I've been playing with some of the new"social" search tools where user input rather than algorithms determine the rankings and some of the content. Most notable of these are Digg.com and Del.ico.us but also rising are reddit.com, wink.com, and others.
I'm NOT a frequent user of these so I'm really in NO great position to comment on them .... but I will anyway....
Overall I'm underwhelmed with the actual tools. Theoretically I see this added user input as great, but using them seems to yield superficial (spend a few minutes watching "DIGG SPY" articles scroll along your screen to see what I mean) and inadequate results.
CAVEAT - I have not put in a lot of time researching with these vs Google. Frankly, my early results just didn't show enough promise to continue.
Using Digg.com and delicio.us I'm just not getting a "much better" list of things than with a faster and easier Google or Yahoo or MSN search. I certainly think the concept of democratic user selection and getting out from under the restraints of the Google algorithm are really profound, so I wonder if it'll be a hybridized search, perhaps one that Yahoo invents now that they bought del.icio.us, that sets new standards.
As blogs begin to replace websites, spread like fire, and pump millions of pages of new content online daily we need systems that can sort and rank this content almost in real time. Google, as well as the other big search engines, fail this test although Google does seem to index blogger (and other blog?) content much, much faster than new website content. But Digg is sorting these articles at the speed of rumor and innuendo, which as we all know is *pretty damn fast*. This brushfire style of ranking leads to excitement but also problems when the rumors or story are false or questionable as OReilly writer Steve Mallett learned the hard way last week.
So, my jury is still out, but I'm not convinced regular folks will find will find del.icio.us all that tasty or dig digg as much as needed to keep all the big buzz going.