In-browser social network Me.dium is expanding its services Wednesday night with the launch of a new social search tool. It pulls in regular old Yahoo results as part of the company's freshly announced BOSS platform (see news story here), while combining them with social results from other Me.dium users.
Me.dium founder David Mandell is calling the new system "Crowd Rank" and says it's not about how content links with other content, but how it links up with other users who are visiting these sites. Based on the data from people with the Me.dium sidebar or toolbar installed, the engine will get its own community-specific results that Mandell thinks will be more valuable than something merely indexed by machines.
That's not to say it's completely nixing those machined results. The social layer comes secondary to the service's main search, which will simply pull up Yahoo results. The extra value here is in the Me.dium community metadata that's wrapped around each link. Included is rank, velocity (how fast it's moved up in the results), crowd level, the last time a Me.dium user visited the site, along with how long most are spending there. It will be getting this data from two sources, both the social sidebar as well as a toolbar, which is launching as part of the service. Privacy will be the same for both products--as you can turn off tracking of sites you're visiting with two clicks.
Users looking for deeper integration with their in-browser search will have to use the toolbar or sidebar for the time being. Mandell says an option to use it in the top corner of compatible browsers like Firefox should be coming in the near future.