E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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Swicki – Community-Powered Search at Its Best

If you have been visiting my weblog going through the direct link as opposed to the actual syndication feed you will have noticed by now a couple of changes on the actual weblog template itself. The most notorious one and the one for which this weblog post is meant is Swicki. And the reason why I think it is worth while mentioning is because this is a relatively new offering that tries to fill in a gap in the searching world out there. That gap is the one of a community-powered search where community members help build up a common set of keywords and their results from a community perspective as opposed to an individual perspective, which is what you would get with traditional search engines. In short, and like it is mentioned on the web site itself:

Swickis harness the collective intelligence of and strengthen your community.

Pretty neat, eh ? But it gets better, folks. Now consider the fact that most of those community members may be dispersed and may have an already existing connection through the usage of particular collaboration tools to share knowledge like Wikis or weblogs or even Instant Messaging, but were missing the fact that they didn’t have a common repository of keywords they could search on from all of the different resources they would be using. Now with Swicki things are different. The circle will be closed since community members would have the opportunity to collaborate offline through Wikis and weblogs or in real-time with Instant Messaging and, finally, with the chance to put that altogether into a dynamic search engine that community members can refer to back and forth and help it grow further as time goes by. 

And that is the real power from Swicki. Not the fact that it may be another powerful search engine, but the fact that it establishes a connection between the different community members by allowing them to build that powerful search engine based on their sharing of sets of keywords. And that would be the main key success factor from this, so far beta, offering. Worth while watching it how it evolves for sure, which is why I have decided to include it in my weblog template and continue to use it more and more. And later on in time I will be weblogging about it some more to share with you folks what my experience has been so far.

Thus if you are part of a community and want to build up that community-powered search engine I would certainly recommend you give a try to Swicki. It will help you build those stronger links and trust levels and become much more integrated with the rest of your fellow community members. So you may want to go ahead and create your own Swicki now !

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  1. (Update): A quick update folks; through my referrers list I have noticed that Frank Gruber over at Somewhat Frank has also written an article around the same subject: What is Swicki? and he is actually providing a good and comprehensive overview of what it is with some interesting references to Phil Bradley’s weblog post on the same subject, or the TechCrunch review but most interestingly is his link to Step by Step Eurekster Swicki Tutorial-Make Your Own Search Engine by Wendy Boswell where she is actually showing us, step by step, how to get started with our own Swicki.

    Thus, thanks a bunch, Frank, for sharing those links and for taking the time to weblog about it. Excellent stuff !

  2. I recently read an article online that Yahoo’s expansion of search will hurt Google as far as this new concept of “community powered search” goes. “Yahoo is forging an early lead over Google in this fast-evolving technology with its acquisition last week of del.icio.us for a rumored $35 million (the actual amount was undisclosed). In many cases, community-powered searches will let members find what they’re looking for more quickly than they would on a purely computerized type of web search, which Google does so superbly. Yahoo was already introducing community-based searches with My Web 2.0. Of course, Google is surely working on its own alternatives.”

    How do you see this affecting the invincible behemoth that is Google? Are we really going to see my beloved Google falter?
    Google-girl, kbissoon.

  3. Hello Krista-Lee and welcome to elsua ! Thanks for sharing your comments on this topic. Regarding your question above about how it may impact Google I actually doubt it would ever impact it per se, since there are two completely different search trends with their own sets of requirements and needs to be met by whatever the search engine. In principle, I would think that it could be a bit more powerful to make those community searches available to people since it would help increase the sense of belonging to the community by being able to search those results. However, and on the other hand, not everyone is involved in working with groups or communities, so in the end they would still need to have a search engine they could all go to. The good thing is, though, that there is no need for one to rule over the other, I mean the concept of community searches vs. individual web based searches. And the reason being is that they could coexist and complement one another.

    The main beneficiaries from that particular approach would actually be the end-users themselves and the communities they belong to, because they would be having the opportunity of choosing whatever the search engine and its method in order to provide what they would think are their best results depending on what they are searching for. I think that this is what is important at the end of the day: people having choices to decide which search engine to use based on the needs of the moment, so there is no need for Google to give in or for Yahoo! to stop innovating in that space. I don’t think Google would suffer but I wouldn’t think that Yahoo! would be failing with the approach. We shall see how that goes, time will tell, but coexistence may be the best option for them both.

  4. Thanx for the reply…I also just wanted to let you know my website url has changed. Google indexed the comment I made and thus indexed a blog of mine which no longer exists. As a result,the entire online kingdom was privy to a non-existant url address for my blog.

    Its now http://kbissoon.blogspot.com

    If you visit there you will see why I was alarmed or concerned with respect to Google. Hopefully when this new comment is indexed by Google, my PRESENT blog will be indexed 🙂
    Google girl, kbissoon.

  5. Thanks, Krista-Lee, for dropping by and for updating us on this. Yes, I would hope that once Google indexes your comment with the new address of your weblog that things would be back to normal. I am glad to read it is now all fixed and sorted out ! Thanks again for the comments and keep weblogging !

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