Google declined to comment further about Gomes' posting. "Unfortunately, because the examples he provides are still only experiments, we cannot talk in length about how they work. If we end up rolling out this experiment for all users, we would definitely be able to talk in more detail. Right now we are experimenting with a number of factors so we can't really explain how the final product would work," a Google spokeswoman said via e-mail.
Thus, it's not known whether Google would factor the rearranging of results by users into the overall computation for ranking results for those specific queries. It's also not clear whether search result comments would be made available to anyone to read.
In the posting, titled "Search experiments, large and small," Gomes presents several other examples of public tests that Google has run on its results page.
Unlike the test to re-rank and comment on results, which is visually prominent, others are subtle and hard to notice, such as slightly varying the amount of white space between one result and another, or making a symbol look more or less thick.
The bottom line, wrote Gomes, is that "we test almost everything, even things that you would think are so small that we could not possibly care -- nor could they possibly matter. In fact, small changes do matter, and we do care."
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