Who"s davidlian?

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davidlian is an ultra-geeky chinese dude that works for a technology PR agency. He loves fiddling with techno-toys, plays Warhammer 40K, and shoots pictures wherever he goes. Here, he rants about PR, Technology and anything else. Don't expect balance and un-biased, he ain't no journalist. Anything said on this blog are solely davidlian's personal views. Don't confuse them with company mantra, client's views or views of any organisation he may be part of.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Human-powered search?

Nearly a decade ago, Google brought innovation to the words "internet search" by using pigeons to sort out good search results from the bad ones.

Fast-forward to this decade, and pigeons have evolved to human beings. Enter human-powered search by Mahalo. Though I've known about Mahalo for a while now (thanks to Buzz Out Loud and Jason Calacanis appearing on TWIT every so often!), I've only recently begun to actually start using it, and I'm quite, quite loving it.


Let me start by saying, Mahalo isn't Google. Yes, they are both search services, but Google's a bit more "engine" and Mahalo is a bit more "service."

You see, Mahalo actually pays human beings to write up search entries, and still relies on aggregating search engine results from Google, Yahoo!, del.icio.us and more to give you results for any searches they don't have entries for.

So, say, if you were searching for "Barack Obama" you'd end up with a great looking page full of links, video and information on Mr. Obama like this:

Barack Obama - mahalo

But let's say you were looking for a lesser known somebody, oh say... davidlian... you'd just get a bunch of google links like this:

davidlian - mahalo

Of course, if i was a bit hardsell, I could put in a request for Mahalo to write an article about my search topic. This is a bit of interesting interaction that I really found to be unique about Mahalo. Teams of real people would be putting together pages for specific topics and so it ends up becoming a little bit of a cross between Wikipedia and Google. And, if you wanted to be one of those people, its pretty easy to sign up here and get paid.

If you just wanted to get casually involved with the search community at Mahalo, you could alternatively sign up as a member and volunteer links. Each search page entry gives you the option to volunteer links that are relevant to the topic and will be vetted through by Mahalo's team to ensure a better search result for everyone.

I still use Google an awful lot (though I'm more and more going back to Yahoo! now), but Mahalo is also one of the great sites I check out on a daily basis to see the pulse of the internet. The front page changes everyday and though it's a far cry from the minimalistic design of Google, Mahalo manages to deliver important topics on its front page without the clutter of sites like Yahoo!.

More interestingly, I love how Mahalo tries to be more than just a search engine. Stuff like the Mahalo Daily Show by Veronica Belmont means there'll always be meaningful content to discover on Mahalo.

The only drawback is, I can't get over how everytime I punch in David Lian, this dude called David Binn keeps popping up.


SlowCatchUpKuan said...

i'm blur... still sound similar to google wat

davidlian said...

LoL! Trust me, it's much different. Google uses algorithm to give you search results.

Mahalo tries to hire people to create a page for every search result possible. But if there isn't a page created, then it will still aggregate the results from Google, Yahoo, etc.

SlowCatchUpKuan said...

hmmm i think i'm too used to google d LOL. might try it out just for fun... maybe.