Mahalo, Jason Calacanis' new startup search engine, is implementing a fascinating approach to search engine results. Instead of going the way of the algorithm - the automated scoring process for determining search engine results pages (SERPs) that appear after a query is tendered - Mahalo's SERPs are hand-crafted. Every page of results is created, reviewed and maintained by actual people. Yes, humans!
On the surface this may seem contrary to the way we do things these days. Typical SERPs are slaves to the algorithm, but they lack the fundamental human-only wisdom that separates splogs from real content, ad-farms from actual indexes. The Mahalo editors can literally review every link they post. That factor alone results in higher quality SERPs because the trash gets separated out and the good stuff stays in. Mahalo then takes it a step further and appropriately groups the results so you can find the exact type of information you're looking for related to your query. The grouping adds massive value to the search results.
Here are examples from two topics I am very passionate and very knowledgeable about.
As an aficionado on both topics I can tell you that Mahalo's results for both queries are superior to Google's. Mahalo's results provide context and clarification. They separate signal from noise. I don't have to do a lot of digging to find the right stuff, the stuff I'm looking for. Whether I want Grateful Dead music, news, video - whatever, the results are properly packaged and presented, saving time, keeping frustration at bay and filling me with the a feeling of, well, "Mahalo."
High quality aggregation is carrying the day, and even more so in the days to come. If Mahalo is able to aggregate the top 10,000 internet search terms better than anyone else, it could be a huge victory for web users and for Calacanis' dream of a private jet.