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.

Josh CatoneJosh Catone
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Before joining Jilt, Josh Catone was the Executive Director of Editorial Projects at Mashable, the Lead Writer at ReadWriteWeb, Lead Blogger at SitePoint, and the Community Evangelist at DandyID. On the side, Josh enjoys managing his blog The Fluffington Post.

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