Microsoft has just launched a new service called Search Together, which will be a free service allowing groups of people to work on Web searches in conjunction with each other.
In order to use this new Search Together format, users will have to download the Search Together plugin for Internet Explorer 7:
Once this is done, users can add their list of friends to the buddy list in Live Messenger and then use Search Together with them. The user who first creates the session, becomes the ‘team leader’ and only that person can add more members to the group.
Search Together will be handy for users who wish to collaborate on a particular task, be they students doing a research project, or a group of friends planning a vacation together. The service will be allow synchronous as well as asynchronous collaboration.
The salient features of this new program from Microsoft will include group query history, split searching, page-level rating, commenting, automatically generated shared summaries, peek-and-follow browsing and integrated chat. Search Together will allow users to share their search results with all those who join in for a particular session, no matter at what stage they may have joined in.
A surprisingly smart feature allows members of the same Search Together group to use different search engines such as Windows Live Search, Google and Yahoo!, thereby opening up the platform to users of other search engines. This has undoubtedly been done to attract users who can’t already avail of such features on their favourite search engines, in the hope of converting them to regular Live Search users.
This program is a part of a research project on collaborative Web Search. The profile, queries and results of all users will be sent to Microsoft for research purposes.