I read this story on TechCrunch a couple days ago, and the title says it all -- "Is This the Future of Search?"
The article contains a video demonstration of a closed beta version of Google's newest way of determining search results -- by adding Digg-style voting to the results pages.
Quite frankly, I'm not sure what to think about this. For starters, I'm not the biggest fan of Digg -- I think the voting system is rather arbitrary, susceptible to spam, and frequently ignores better stories in favour of more "popular" items.
In my opinion, there's no reason to believe that these new Google search results won't also be maliciously manipulated and spammed to produce less than desirable results. After all, it's not as if Google is immune to spam -- just check out the constant buffoonery on display at the new Google Trends tool.
On the other hand though, if used wisely (of course, this is the Internet we're talking about, so that is highly unlikely), the voting system could actually be used to vote down obvious spammers and keyword stuffers, clearing the first couple of search results pages for, you know, actual related content.
As one of my main roles at Marketing Breakthroughs is that of web copywriter and SEO specialist, I'm very interested in seeing how this turns out. What effect will this have on search engine optimized web content? Will keyword-rich copy be less important if your site can simply be voted off the first page? Will web marketers have to spend countless hours clicking thumbs up and thumbs down icons to counteract the Google-bombing being done to their clients by their competitors?
We shall see.