While Google works very well most of the time, I've found myself using Jason Calacanis' more and more for certain types of searches lately.  In case you're not familiar with Mahalo, it's a human-powered search engine, meaning that the results are compiled by real humans instead of an algorithm.  While this limits the number of search terms they can cover, I've found that they have good real-time coverage of every popular news story as well as other general interest topics, and it's really nice to get the information you're after right away (no ads, no keywords buried in a mountain of text).  Between Google, Wikipedia and Mahalo, it rarely takes me longer than 90 seconds to find any information I need.

While "human-powered search" is the official tag line, it also feels similar to a few other websites, like Wikipedia or Digg (but without the geek-dominated extreme left wing bias).  They also just launched Mahalo Answers, which is quite a bit like Yahoo Answers.  I wont judge it yet, as it's only a few days old, but the concept seems to blend quite well with some of Mahalos other strengths (recipes and other DIY tips come to mind).  If you've never used Mahalo, try it out.



I am not sure I get why this is a "human search" when it really is more of a "human directory" - right? Or am I missing something? Either way, maintaining those pages will be an ultra-bitch. What happens when new "gossip" needs to be added about someone, how will those pages stay up-to-date?

04/10/2009 10:05

It's definitely more of a "human directory." However, I guess it's referred to as search to compete more directly with search engines. As for keeping up to date, they have lots of employees who are updating pages as fast as news comes out. For popular news, I've found they're actually pretty good.


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