Microsoft Research Opens Social Search Engine

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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.

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