You might have noticed a new star icon appearing next to search results on Google. This icon is part of a new feature Google announced today called “Starred results” which helps you personalize search results. You are given the option to mark a result as a “favorite” which will be listed at the top of the page if any “starred” items are related to your current search. This means you will never have to dig through search results for that specific link you know exists, you just have to mark it with a “star” and Google will know to show you that link first in the results. That is just one of the many examples of how the new feature can be used. It seems more like a “search oriented” way of using bookmarks, which are often seen as out of date in today’s search driven world.

By using the star icon it is very easy to understand that you are marking a favorite. Not so easily understood is how this changes your search results, but once you see the new “Starred results” appear at the top during a search it makes a lot more sense. They have also designed it so that these “Stars” will sync with Google Bookmarks. This furthers the idea of using your favorite links to personalize results.

The new “Stars” feature replaces the old SearchWiki feature which was similar, but was not simple enough for most people to know how to use. The idea of SearchWiki was to give users a way to rank, remove, or comment on search results. It was a feature that gave users the power to help contribute and make Google search results more accurate and informative. The new feature simplifies this into a single button for marking results. Google says they are rolling out the “Stars” feature starting today, and it should soon be available worldwide.