Technology News reports on a new search engine, Eurekster.com, which plans to leverage social networks in Web searching:

Eurekster.com will let users invite their friends by e-mail to try the search engine. The cluster of friends and friends-of-friends then becomes a social network whose Internet search queries shape the results of all its members.

Eurekster gets results like a normal search engine but ranks them according to the interests you and your friends have shown through past searches. For example, if many people in a social network use Eurekster to seek information about the Boston Red Sox, the websites they visit most will rise to the top in future Red Sox searches. Eurekster also lists queries that members of your social network have made — although it doesn't say who made them — and recent websites they have visited….

Eurekster is betting that "your network is interested in this, therefore you should be, too — so go look at it," said Stowe Boyd, managing director of A Working Model, a technology consulting firm in Virginia.

Of course, Google uses hyperlinks to help it determine the relevance of pages, but this is something different: it sounds like it's more behavioral– in the sense of trying to extract conclusions based on what a group of people do– than functional or semantic (though of course, a Web link can be seen as an action, and thus behavioral).

This struck me because it's another example of how we're trying to use what once been private, fleeting activities (in this case Web searches) and turn them into public goods and something akin to social capital.

[via Wired News]