Jumping on the human edited search wagon and keeping a little bit of Netscape dirt on the heels of his boots, Jason Calacanis is backing a new human edited search project dubbed Mahalo.
Mahalo is a Hawaiian expression of thanks, and is a bit of a catchy name in the world of search engines with names like ChaCha, Accoona and Hakia.
One of the easiest ways to explain Mahalo is that its part directory, part Netscape, part Ask.com and supplemented by Google.
Mahalo’s definition statement is kind of like taking a time machine back to 1998 and the world of Go.com Guides :
Mahalo is the world’s first human-powered search engine powered by an enthusiastic and energetic group of Guides. Our Guides spend their days searching, filtering out spam, and hand-crafting the best search results possible. If they haven’t yet built a search result, you can request that search result. You can also suggest links for any of our search results.
Instead of volunteer guides which get points, credits and the opportunities to plug their own sites, Mahalo is taking the Netscape editorial staff vision into the search world.
These staff members will be giving ‘hand jobs’ to specific search results (Mahalo has a goal of 10,000 results) which will include recommended sites and information, somewhat similar to Ask.com’s Smart Answers or Yahoo Shortcuts, which offer multimedia information and links to relevant human picked content.
Mahalo goes farther in their human edited search results however, much farther.
A search for iPod brings a Top 7 of online resources on the product, including an embedded YouTube video. Then product reviews are served in the results from various comparison engines and online stores (the links do not appear to be affiliate links) and other relevant info is served, such as guides to support, tips & tricks, hacks and so forth.
Mahalo also encourages its users to recommend links, report spam, and connect with Mahalo guides.
Although Mahalo continues to remind me of the directory powered search engines of old, it does seem to be breathing some fresh air into the search market via 2.0 type features as community, video, transparency and relevant information.
It will take time to see what happens with Mahalo, but apparently Calacanis & company have 5 years worth of funding to power their human edited search monster, and industry eyes will be on this project.