I was just thinking today that with all the social power that digg.com has that perhaps it could be the answer to the problems I see with Google (and others) as a search engine.
Google seems to be getting bloated with resource listings in its index, that is, it's getting really big amounts of data that it seems to have nowhere near enough capacity to crawl on a timely basis. If it did there wouldn't be the need, nor popularity, of some of the services that operate around it (tagging, digging, moderating sites).
For some time now Google has not been able to index new sites on any sort of regulalar basis and has been wide open for being spammed by focussing on page popularity (PR / Page Ranking) where each link is a vote cast on a particular page/site based on those linking to it. It seems that many not-so-great (for lack of a better term) sites get listed quite easily and quickly because they abuse the PR system by having a number of (their own or friends) NSG sites pointing to the new site and each other. The other alternative for these sites is paying higher PR sites or directories to link to them. I see this a big problem too, where they are getting (indexed and) ranked (on Google) on a paid-for criteria and not on their real content, value or relativety to anything.
The next problem is Wikipedia... Here I see the problem is that there are far too few in control which means that agendas and always what they should be. I put this down to human error / human nature. Whatever you call it, it's a problem and is making Wikipedia slide in my eyes.
The next problem is OPD... The Open Directory has been falling down for a long time. a) It takes way too long for the volunteers to get anything done (months or more!), and b) the volunteers fall into the same category as the Wikipedia ones, they become biased and begin to drive their own agendas, at least this is how I see it.
Now, getting back to Digg.
Digg has a fantastic social membership, where the members submit the news, vote and comment on it. If a story ranks well it gets onto the 'front page'. It's a great system and it work really well. So well that others, including Microsoft, Dell, Yahoo and many other players are emulating the same style of system.
It seems to me this is exactly how the NEW search engine / directory system should work.
I would love to see a SE / DIR where users submit their sites (and pages) and then users vote and comment on them. Much the same way that Digg works, generally users who are only interested in particular categories would vote and comment on what they are interested and would discover new websites in fields that they are interested in along the way.
This puts the selection of who is best and most relevent in the hands of the masses and not the very few (who can be corrupted).
The best sites would filter to the top throught the voting system and this would be reflected in search results and directory listings.
Sites could be tagged with various ratings giving searchers a better idea of what they have listed before clicking through. (ie. ratings such as R, PG, G etc as well as more typcal score/popularity ratings).
If Digg wont build it.. who will? I'm sure someone will.
Could Digg be the next Google?