Jason Calacanis’ Human-Powered Search Mahalo Launches

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MahaloJason Calacanis’ ‘Project X,’ which he has been hinting on his blog (and his ever-entertaining CalacanisCast), was revealed today. It’s Mahalo (meaning ‘thank you’ in Hawaii), and it’s a human-powered search engine that’s to Google like what Citizendium is to Wikipedia — a fully human-edited alternative to something traditional.

How It Works
Launched in Alpha (i.e. ‘don’t critique me’ mode), Mahalo is a simple concept. What they’ve done is taken the 10,000 most popular search terms and they’re hoping to create a human-edited page on each of them — gathering facts, figures, and whatever is needed to fulfill the end searcher’s goal. With currently about 4,000 pages done, they hope to reach 10,000 by the end of this year. Mahalo

Users can either search for what they’re looking for, or browse through their hierarchical listing of topics. Each topic is divided into several categories, and the end page contains sections that best transmit the information, along with a ‘Mahalo Top 7’ at the top — which contains links to the best resources on that given topic. Also, a ‘Fast Facts’ section is present for some, which does a really good job of providing basic info on a topic. Of course, users can contribute to any search pages they want to, but it is written and maintained in the end by a sole user. As an example, check out the page on Jason Calacanis himself.

Mahalo is a terrific start for something with such an ambitious goal in mind — the kind we would’ve thought of only pre-Google days, which ironically with things like Mahalo and Citizendium, we seem to be going back to. While I don’t think it’s going to become the next big place to look for information, even in the next couple of years (on the scale of  things like Google, Wikipedia, or even something like Answers.com), it may get to the point where it’s successful in bringing attention to the whole concept of human-powered search, and that may ultimately lead us somewhere.