Hallelujah. Google Search Wiki will soon have an off button.
I spoke with Google’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience Marissa Mayer this afternoon at the Le Web conference in Paris, France. Among the topics we discussed: Google Chrome (it’s coming out of beta) and Google’s new social and wiki features.
I’ve been fairly negative on Google Search Wiki. In particular, once a user has opted into the feature, it cannot be turned off.
Mayer defended the feature today on stage, arguing that it has a minimal visual impact and that many users are finding it useful to move search results around on the page.
Mayer also said that it is “very likely” that they will add a toggle button to allow users to turn the feature off. When pressed on timing, she said “early Q1.”
Mayer also talked about Google’s use of user data created by actions on Wiki search to improve search results on Google in general. For now that data is not being used to change overall search results, she said. But in the future it’s likely Google will use the data to at least make obvious changes. An example is if “thousands of people” were to knock a search result off a search page, they’d be likely to make a change.
The full video of the interview should be available soon, and I’ll update this post with an embed shortly.