Microsoft Playing With Social Search Personalization

By: Doug Caverly - October 22, 2008

The customer who says "I don’t like that" is loathed by companies everywhere.  Their ideal customer says "I don’t like that," explains why, and offers a reasonable suggestion, instead.  Microsoft is trying to bring users possessing this mindset to an experimental search engine called U Rank.

Questionable spelling aside, U Rank’s name pretty well illustrates its main feature.  Users have the option of reordering, adding, or deleting search results, and can write notes as well.  Through the use of a Windows Live ID, all of these changes get saved between sessions.  Both Google and Yahoo have been down this path.

 U Rank Result Reordering

Then there’s one more little twist.  A post on "U Rank’s space" explains, "Changes you make to your search results while sharing is on will be visible to your friends."  And as for the privacy problem, "If you want to hide or delete any changes you’ve made to search results, you can go to your history page and find all of your edits there."

Don’t expect to see these social and DIY abilities made defaults on Live Search anytime soon, but Microsoft may at least expand the experiment at some point.  Don’t be surprised if users’ reordered U Rank results are made part of some minor update, too.

In the meantime, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t write a 10-page essay every time a business messes up, use U Rank at your own risk.  Frederic Lardinois writes, "Search results take a long time to load, and some very basic user interface issues clearly still need to be worked out. 

"There is, for example, no way to move a search result from the second search page to the first, and the interface for dragging and dropping items sometimes doesn’t work well."

Doug Caverly

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Doug CaverlyDoug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest eBusiness news.

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  • Peter Monroe

    This just sounds like another way for people to spam the serps.