Microsoft revealed a technical preview of Spindex, a new Web service designed to aggregate users' social-networking feeds onto a single screen. Spindex also leverages social-networking information, such as friends' Facebook updates, to present personalized trending topics and related Bing content. Microsoft applications that use social-networking content are on the rise lately, with Windows Live Messenger and Docs for Facebook both relying on those types of Websites to give their users a more connected experience. Spindex was built by FUSE Labs, a Microsoft division tasked with building software with a social connectivity focus.
Microsoft revealed Spindex, a Web service designed to
aggregate its users' various social-networking feeds onto a single screen, on
May 4. The application is a product of Microsoft's FUSE Labs, a Microsoft
division devoted to building software with a social connectivity focus.
"As you increasingly tweet, post to Facebook, and capture
ideas with tools like Evernote, we want to help you get the most out of your
social activity by exposing the right information, at the right time, in a way
that's meaningful," Lili Cheng, general manager of FUSE Labs, wrote
in a May 4 posting on The Official Microsoft Blog
. "Spindex, which we're
making available in early technical preview form, aggregates your social
streams (Facebook, Twitter, Bing, etc.), making it simple for you to find
what's new, see personalized trending topics, and generally make the most of
the time you spend being social on the Web."
Spindex will try to ensure that those social-networking
streams operate in something like symphony; for example, it will suggest
content from Bing related to your friends' latest updates.
A full breakdown of the service can be found on Microsoft's FUSE Website
In keeping with the application's social-media focus, a dedicated Twitter
will reveal when Spindex becomes more broadly available.
Aggregation seems the name of the game for Microsoft lately;
on April 29, the company unveiled an upcoming version of Windows Live Messenger
that bundles everything from video chat to Bing search results into the user's
message stream; in addition, videos and photos from SkyDrive, Facebook and
related sites can be filtered through the interface.
"You can have a high-definition video chat with your friend
while clicking through a set of photos, letting you see and hear each other's
reactions while you share. We've also made it easier to manage multiple
simultaneous conversations by putting each one in its own tab," Piero Sierra, a
spokesperson for Microsoft, detailed
in an April 28 posting on The Windows Blog
. "And, of course, as part of our
deeper integration with Facebook, later this year Messenger will support
Facebook Chat, so you'll be able to IM all your Facebook friends from within
No firm date has been given for Messenger's wider release, although
a "limited number" of individuals will apparently have the chance to test out
the service "in the very near future," according to Sierra.
Much of Microsoft's emphasis on social-networking
applications can be traced back to October 2009, when Microsoft Chief Software
Architect Ray Ozzie announced the creation of FUSE Labs with its focus on
"software and services that are centered on social connectivity, real-time
experiences and rich media," according to a Microsoft press release at the
Ozzie himself wrote, in an Oct. 8 memo, that FUSE Labs would
"bring more coherence and capability to those advanced development projects
where they're already actively collaborating with product groups to help them
succeed with -leapfrog' efforts." Initial plans for FUSE Labs involved about 80
employees from Microsoft Startup Labs, based in Massachusetts, along with the
Creative Systems Group and Rich Media Labs.
Some of the division's early projects have included work on
the Outlook Social Connector, which is baked into the upcoming Office 2010, and
Bing Twitter Maps, which coordinates Tweets with a map. FUSE
Labs also built Docs for Facebook
, an online applications platform that
lets Facebook users create and share Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.