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Google has rejigged its personalised search results option by adding stars - used elsewhere in Mountain View’s vast online estate - to its search engine and maps.

The company confirmed the switcheroo yesterday. It had previously offered users something called “SearchWiki”, that allowed Google surfers to bump up or delete personal search result entries.

The feature is already present in Gmail, allowing users to flag up important emails by clicking on the star, turning it from transparent to gold. The same system is used in Google Reader too.

“The great thing about stars is that you don't have to keep track of them. You don't even have to remember whether or not you starred something,” said Google’s product manager Cedric Dupont and software engineer Matthew Watson in a joint blog post.

“Simply perform a search and you'll rediscover your starred items right when you need them.”

Google also explained why it had replaced its SearchWiki feature with the stars flag.

“In our testing, we learned that people really liked the idea of marking a website for future reference, but they didn't like changing the order of Google's organic search results. With stars, we've created a lightweight and flexible way for people to mark and rediscover web content.” ®

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