Well, Google has now released it publicly: Google SearchWiki brings custom search results
It's now open to anyone with a Google account -- people just like me and you! It looks like this:
See the arrow and the X? Neat!
1. Right now, your ratings do not affect anyone else's search results
2. Google has not "closed any doors" about allowing this in the future.
From the CNet article:
"We don't close any doors. We constantly evaluate signals that are incorporated into the search results algorithm ... Search is adapting to the Internet as it becomes a more participatory medium. Now you have people telling us specific things about how they'd like to see their search results."
If you do make a vote, Google gives you a nice popup explaining the new "SearchWiki". Here is a search for "bears."
Right now, I'm sure Google is waiting to let your votes affect others until after they can truly "democratize" this system so that companies can't just create a zillion Google accounts and bump their results to the top. Google tends to be pretty good at preventing people from thwarting their system and search algorithms.
It's true. Just look at an SEO optimized website. What makes up an SEO optimized website these days? One in which there is an abundance of clearly labeled content that can be found through intuitive website design and navigation.
Lots of others have blogged about this already.
Seth Godin has some interesting thoughs in Google gets jiggy, and of course SEO Book couldn't avoid writing a post about the search engine announcement.
From an SEO perspective, I'll be very interested to see how this develops. An SEO company's job, when search engine optimizing a website, should be to provide value to the website owners by provideing value to the website users. No more loading meta tags with keywords to nudge out the actually useful stuff!