Here’s Search Engine Land’s post on Jason Calacanis’ new search engine Mahalo. It claims to be the “world’s first human powered search engine.” But it’s really very much like what Ask, Looksmart, The Mining Co. (later About.com), Yahoo! and others were doing in the old days, using an editorial staff to identify worthy and authoritative sites. Search engine-directory assistance hybrid ChaCha uses human guides in real time (through chat) to help people find answers to queries.
Mahalo means “thank you” in Hawaiian.
Many others, including Eurekster, Jeteye and Yahoo! have more recently sought to create a community layer on top of algorithmic search through tagging, promotion and other techniques to leverage human intelligence and the “wisdom of crowds” to improve results.