Microsoft now has a new (to me) search feature called xRank that tracks notable people and attempts to put them in order for you. In typical list fashion it shows moving trends and position changes over time and maps this data back to events that have happened.
xRank keeps track of notable people and puts them in order for you. We count Live Search web searches for movie stars, musicians, and other famous people. Then, we compile our findings into an insightful ranking formula that tells you who the world is searching for most. The result is a cultural snapshot of who’s hot and who’s not!
I actually found this site via the newly launched version of Live.com which has a full review over at Mashable. As of 07/30/08 they are displaying a link to the xRank service
and have the following indexes available; Celebrity , Musician, Politician, Blogger, and Olympics.
Each has an index of people that are influenced by the amount of searches that take place involving them or their name. I am not sure of the methodology being used here, but it seems like the more mentions the better.
The only problem I have with the service, which is spread across many Microsoft projects, is that there is no way to navigate “home”. There is no clear cut navigation letting you know that the search box is searching xRank or the web results. Clicking any of the breadcrumb trails outside of the xRank results brings you to the various other Live.com services and you are away from the xRank site. I think that integrating these projects is a daunting task, but should certainly be more thought out before giving them homepage real estate.
I would say that as the index grows to include more people this will become another vanity searching point for people. Although no one may navigate to the 20,000 person on their own, those people in that section will certainly see where they are personally and want to see who their neighbors are. I think vanity searching has volume and traction – but how people will use this data will drive how the service can be iterated upon.
Conclusion: What is the point? I feel that this is a half baked service with poor navigation to boot. You cannot take or embed the data anywhere else and searching for someone is quite confusing as described above. As vanity searching becomes more common, I expect to see these types of lists gain traction but until then they are are of little use. Microsoft is also taking the images from sites (although linking back to them) and hosting them on their service.Tags: Live.com, Search, Vanity Searching