Jason Calacanis has just launched Mahalo, a search engine with real humans making some of the decisions. Crazy? Nothing wrong with humans. A bit slow, but generally much more intuitive and accurate than machines. It’s still in alpha so we must wait awhile before testing it properly.
Like most people I suppose, I searched for my name, “John Evans”, and it wasn’t there. But Mahalo did offer to email me when it was. Now that’s what I call service. You search for a name and then you wait for an email. They are though only five months into a five-year project. Nice touch.
I also searched for Syntagma, and bingo, we came 2nd and third on the list, below Syntagma Square, Athens, but above all the other companies now calling themselves Syntagma. Result!
So what’s the idea behind the human operators? This is from the press release :
Are humans better than machines at creating search results?
Yes and no. Humans cannot possibly create as many search results as machines, nor can they go as deep on each search result. However, humans using machines can create much better search results than machines alone. Our “Guides” use Google, Yahoo, Ask, MSN, Flickr, Delicious, and dozens of other services to hand-craft the cleanest, most organized, and spam-free SeRPs available today.
How much time do you spend building a SeRP? It takes a couple of hours to create a solid search result. However, these results need to be maintained by our Guides on an ongoing basis.
This is an interesting concept and it will be good to watch it mature. I’ll be waiting for that email too. The release doesn’t specify whether the Guides will be responsible for taking the search on from my query, but I guess that’s the way the system works.
So long as I come top, I’ll be content.