When I first came upon Mahalo, the new Hawaiian-themed search site, its description immediately gave me reason to doubt. They are FAR from the "world's first human-powered search engine." The major 1990s search engines, including Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, and LookSmart, built custom pages for popular, high-revenue terms like cars, travel, and tech. Even today, sites like the Open Directory have far more human-edited content.
Mahalo's information architecture is suspect too. Its ten main categories are listed in no particular order -- alphabetizing them would be nice, like other directory sites do. The hierarchy is also unclear. Why do they give Music and Television their own categories, but bury movies under Entertainment? Why are there seven top link picks for each result ... no more, no less?
The site makes more usability mistakes:
- Ratings and ranked lists that don't necessarily correspond to users' needs
- Breaking the Google paradigm with no helpful metadata for recommended links
- No breadcrumbs
It's very difficult to see how Mahalo can compete with either Google's machine-based search breadth or Wikipedia's human-edited depth of content.