Mahalo: If you can’t beat them, follow them

Mahalo, the search engine that relies on humans to organize results around popular search returns, has released a toolbar that gives you supplemental results to the ones you get from Google.

The new release by Mahalo, launched by scrappy entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, is called Mahalo Follow, and is a download to your desktop that lets you see Mahalo’s human-edited results alongside those of Google and other sites.

It does that by creating a sidebar on the left of search results. See example below. You’ll note that a search for an iPhone on Google provides predictable results, but that Mahalo offers many more practical links in the same amount of space on the left. The screenshot is truncated for space reasons, but Mahalo provides a whole column of spam free, human edited results.

We’ve been skeptical of Mahalo’s chances in the past, because people are habitually prone to use Google, Yahoo, Ask or any number of other popular big-brand sites. Becoming a destination site was a tough road. Now, through this download, it creeps onto your screen as a helpful companion while you search at any site. It works whether you’re on Google, or searching for news items on CNN. If you’re on CNN or some other content site, Mahalo scans the content in real time, and determines the subject matter – and provides tips on related sites and information in its bar.

The arrows in our screenshot below point to other elements of Mahalo Follow. It includes a search bar, a directory menu to let you easily find the subjects Mahalo has indexed and more

In an update, Calacanis said results pages have been created so far for 8,800 search topics, and that the site will easily exceed the 10,000 pages it had targeted for this year.

He said more than 800 people signed up for participation in Mahalo’s program to create and curate result pages. The company is drawing on these users to create about 100 search result pages a day. Users create the pages, submit them to “mentors,” who in turn submit them to Mahalo.

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