A recommendation engine is a simple mechanism to learn about stories that other people may have enjoyed reading on your site. The list of recommended items (or web pages) is often published on the site so that new visitors can quickly discover popular stuff without having to dig the archives.

Stories recommended by Digg members

digg recommendation

Items recommended by Amazon Customers

amazon recommendation system

Popular sites likes Digg, Amazon, List.fm etc. too have “automated” recommendation systems in place to help audience discover new stories or products that may be related to the item that they are currently browsing. For instance, every Amazon page has a section called “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” that displays related items and accessories.

Add a Recommendation Engine to your Blog

Google has recently added a new recommendation gadget to Google Friend Connect that makes it easy for bloggers and website owners to know about content that readers find useful and also share it with other visitors.

recommend web pages

You can place a small “Recommend It” (customizable) button beneath your articles and readers who enjoyed reading that story can click the button to share their appreciation.

popular-storiesAll these recommended articles will then appear in the public recommendation list on your site (see screenshot on the right) and pages that get the maximum ‘votes’ will surface to the top of the list.

Unlike the star rating widgets, the recommendation system provides a single option – “I loved this content” – to the visitors so its not about rating the quality of blog posts. If they like something, they say yes, otherwise they ignore the widget.

The best part is that if a visitor recommending any web page is logged into his or her Google Account, their Google Profile get attached to the recommendation and I won’t be surprised if, going forward, all these recommendations also turn up in the public Google Profile.

Related: More useful Add-ons for Blogger