This week Google added a new feature to their Search functionality and it is oh-so-handy.  

Basically, it’s the stars you use to differentiate messages in Gmail, but now you can use them to favorite search results (just like Tweets!). Simply click the star marker on any search result or map, and the next time you perform a search, your relevant starred items will appear in a list right at the top of your results:

 

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Google Stars in Search 

Google says that Stars--which also sync with Google Bookmarks and Google Toolbar--will replace Big G's SearchWiki service. Never heard of it? Understandable; it seems hardly anyone uses it anyway. 

"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," wrote Cedric Dupont, Product Manager and Matthew Watson, Software Engineer, on Google's official blog.  With stars, we've created a lightweight and flexible way for people to mark and rediscover web content.

Though Stars works with Google Bookmarks, users can still "favorite" things instead of bookmarking them, providing yet another example of a Google lock-in system, being that you can take your bookmarks to another search engine, but you can't take your Google Stars with you

As with most of G's features, Stars for Google Search and Maps will be rolled out in stages, so keep an eye out.