CollaborativeRank lets you search de.licio.us bookmarks and view results ranked by tagging behaviour.
Users on de.licio.us who give meaningful tags to helpful/timely URLs (as evidenced by others subsequently doing the same)
will be rewarded with higher CollaborativeRank, which means that their tagging will have greater influence on this search engine’s rankings.
Social media tagging is integrated within the search results which include ranked URLs, the most important URL tags (related), and the URL tagger sequence (users). This means for any particular search you can also browse important related tags and individual user tags.
Each CollaborativeRank result also has a link to reviews supplied by StumbleUpon, a collaborative browsing tool for sharing and discovering websites.
StumbleUpon uses ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like-minded stumblers have liked. Unlike search engines or static directories, this allows for a true "democracy of the web" – all SU members have a say as to whether a page should be passed on.
The overall experience makes for a very useful way of discovering highly rated information.
As an example take a look at this comparison music search across some key search engines. At the time of writing these are the highest ranked links for the search term free music, shown by descriptive title.
Certainly, this particular search term is quite ambiguous, it has many interpretations, but even so judging by the page titles I think 1 Million Free and Legal Music Tracks is my best choice. Having looked at each of those links I’m quite happy with that assessment. You can easily compare search results using a tool like TurboScout; a quick flip between MSN Search and MSN Spaces reveals an interesting difference in results for free music.
One of my favourite social bookmarking tools is Furl. The same search for free music shows 1 Million Free and Legal Music Tracks ranked first. Furl and del.icio.us are two of the most popular online bookmark sharing services and share common user patterns. It comes as no surprise that other social bookmarking tools also have the same webpage saved many times. The reason being, this is a direct recommendation by real people that is valued and therefore circulates rapidly, not something that can be optimised for search engines or easily faked, as in the case of spam.
Is bigger better?
The results from corporate search engines show far more emphasis on commercial enterprises. On the other hand, CollaborativeRank’s user defined ranking bypasses this factor in favour of user relevance. What we get is a kind of David and Goliath situation, a matter of scale and application, where a much smaller database of user defined links manages to deliver extremely relevant results compared to the larger one.
Personally I find browsing other peoples hand picked links and recommendations far more timely and interesting than trawling through the relatively static, and predominately commercialized, lists currently provided by the big search engines. What I’m most interested in is information with a highly relevant social dimension. Near-time shifted information is particularly useful, such as blogs, collaborative news, photo sharing, podcasts, social bookmarks, streaming playlists, and vlogs.
Flickr Social Ranking for Photo Sharing
Flickr the online photo management and sharing tool has a new feature called interestingness.
A long time in the making, interestingness is a ranking algorithm based on user behavior around the photos taking into account some obvious things like how many users add the photo to their favorites and some subtle things like the relationship between the person who uploaded the photo and the people who are commenting (plus a whole bunch of secret sauce).
For a detailed compilation of similar resources see Buzz Search Engines and Social Tools, a useful roundup of online tools focusing on collaborative networks.
/patternHunter [/ph] an alternative social networking blog.
ResearchBuzz provides news and information about search engines, databases, and online collections.
Social Media Group site focusing on blogs, digital stories, RSS feeds, wikis and social networks.
The Social Software Weblog provides news, developments and commentary on social media tools.
Yahoo! Search blog: Search, with a little help from your friends discussing social search and Yahoo!’s My Web 2.0