Microsoft Research is throwing their hat in the social search game with the release of an experimental search engine called U Rank (found via LiveSide). U Rank, which is US-only, allows users to share, edit, annotate, and reorder search results.

“We believe that finding something on the web is only the first step for many tasks,” says the U Rank page. “To better support people as they are exploring a topic, comparing information, keeping track of what they’re learning, and collaborating with others, U Rank has general support for organizing, annotating, remembering, and sharing search results.”

Because U Rank is just a research prototype, it appears to ignore the potential privacy concerns that crop up with social search. So anyone planning to give it a test should be aware that their searches may be shared with friends.

The U Rank project homepage lists a number of use cases for the experimental software, including sharing search result recommendations, keeping lists of things organized, and most interestingly, collaborating on research. The latter makes a lot of sense — U Rank certainly may have useful applications in academic and corporate environments where group research could be conducted on the web more easily by sharing and rating search results.

Unfortunately, I have been unable to actually try U Rank, which seems to developed the mistaken idea that I’m located outside the US and has locked me out.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on U Rank. If you’re able to get in an try it out, let us know what you think of it in the comments below.

Josh Catone joined Mashable in May 2009 and is Executive Director of Editorial Projects. Before joining Mashable, Josh was the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, the Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID.

  • gilcreque

    Looks and sounds a little like Mahalo.

  • Josh Catone

    The logo would certainly suggest that, eh? The main difference, though, is that Mahalo relies on paid editors, while the U Rank prototype, as I understand it, is completely user built.

    Perhaps it is more like Wikia Search, in that regard.

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