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Would you share your search history?
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I've been exploring So.cl (pronounced social), an "experiment in open search" created by Microsoft's FUSE LABS. The community is for 18+ so it is not one you'll probably be able to use with your students anytime soon but I want to discuss it because the way it uses search is very interesting.

So.cl posts are created from edited search results. You type in a search term, in the screen shot below you can see I've searched for "social search", which produces results as web results, videos, images or news. The post author (in this case, me) explores the results and then selects the most interesting items by dragging them across into the post form to share with the world.

socl-create-post

So each so.cl post is a curated search, allowing anyone to explore a topic or concept through search but edited and improved. Likes and comments are used by the community to give feedback and promote the more interesting posts. And it made me wonder whether human curated search results can do a better job than search engines? Are search results more likely to give the full picture when they've been created by a person who is knowledgeable about the topic? Are the results more likely to provide a greater breadth? Or depth? Or relevance?

Additionally, so.cl allows us to follow topics or people. Have a look for example at the searches users are sharing for science. Wouldn't it be great if we could see what everyone was searching for about a particular science topic? Or about anything and everything? Wouldn't it be great if we could see what the thought leaders were searching for? What the experts are searching for? What the passionate amateurs are searching for? Would observing searches help us understand where other learners are placing their attention? Would it make it easier to follow the latest trends? Would observing searches help us understand how other learners are learning? Would it help us to make better decisions about our own learning? Would it help us make better decisions about where we focus our attention?

There are obviously some pretty major privacy concerns with sharing student searches but maybe future virtual learning environments might incorporate social search.

Would you be happy to share your searches with the world?

What other advantages of shared social search do you see?

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