A new project from Microsoft Research (who by the way, is doing the coolest things these days), is a social search experiment called U Rank. The current U Rank prototype is a social search engine built on Live Search that lets you organize, edit, and annotate your search results as well as share them with others.
Essentially, the way U Rank works is by letting you move the search results around – either higher or lower using drag-and-drop while also optionally adding notes to the results or deleting them entirely. In other words, you can create the perfect, personalized search results instead of relying on an algorithm to do it for you.
This could be a great tool for research purposes as you could keep lists of search results along with meaningful notes about the sites you visited. It could also be a better alternative to bookmarking – a process that could become overwhelming if you’re researching a large topic and saving numerous pages. Instead of having to tag bookmarks individually, you could just save your search results themselves. That list could then be shared with other friends, colleagues, or anyone else who might be interested in your findings.
Because the site is just a prototype, participation requires you register your existing Windows Live ID in order to test it out. At the moment, the site is a little slow, but throw some more power behind it and you could really have something here.