This article, What is the Future of Human Powered Searching?, was mentioned in this week's ALA Online. The author brings up some very good points in regards to the pros and cons of this type of Internet searching - when done correctly Human Powered Searching easily overcomes the pros of other searching types and is the only way to deal with cons. He hit it home for me when he said, "You cannot persuade people to break their Google habit until your searches are better than Google for most cases (not just the few cases where you specialize)." I think that is the key and something that can be easily applied to libraries - if we, meaning our databases and search engines, can't be better than Google then there is no way were are going to convince the public or the students to use us.
An aside: I had never heard of Mahalo before and it appears to be everything you want in a fluffy, general search engine.