CNet reports that Microsoft has announced BrowseRank, which they feel may help boost the search's popularity. CNet explains the difference between BrowseRank (BR?) and PageRank:
Essentially, the researchers tested out a system that replaces PageRanks' link graph--a mathematical model of the hyperlinked connections of the Internet--with what they call a user browsing graph that ranks Web pages by people's behavior.
Basically, it comes down to user behavior. The more clicks and actions they can record, the more likely the page is favored (rather than emphasizing links). Since millions of people are using the Live.com search engine, the researchers claim that this evolution just makes sense.
Forum members are afraid that they've been targeted for the purposes of this study without realizing it (even though it is in the Terms of Service). Well, I guess that it's important to read these things.
Still, despite this, the same member who thought he was being spied on thinks that "[t]he BrowseRank algorithm is a thing of beauty, and their methods are brilliant." This is agreed by other forum members who feel that human behavior is the best way for search engines to go. (I'd argue that this is what humans do when they purposely link to certain pages versus others, but moving on...)
Is Microsoft offering brand new technology? One forum member says that FAROO, a P2P search engine, has the same kind of technology. Perhaps it is the mindset behind Microsoft, but it's not revolutionary, he argues. Still, making it more mainstream is a step in the direction that many webmasters are hoping for, provided that it doesn't get gamed.