02 July 2010

Microsoft Project Emporia: A Better Way To Search Twitter [ALPHA]

Microsoft Fuse Labs Logo     Project Emporia

Microsoft Fuse Labs is  a “studio” made up to take Microsoft Research studies into actual apps that can be used by the public in general . They are experimental by default and they can be of limited availability based on their success or goals.

Project Emporia is a Microsoft Fuse Lab social app made in Silverlight and powered by the Bing engine. That got the goal to change the way you can search and engage with Twitter based searches. The main focus are Topical Lenses.  These Topical Lenses are information filters based on twitter search categories. So you can use a technology filter and only see Tweets that have to do with that topic.  The way they archive this seems to be via a simple keyword index at first. How it shows in a page depends on the ranking people using Emporia have marked the tweets according to relevancy or the perceived quality of the tweet. These results in a crowd-sourced search that follows a model very similar to Digg, as you can like and dislike affecting the rank and the Search Engine Positioning of the Tweets as displayed when calling a category or as you search for something within a category.

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As it builds up ranked results, it concentrates on those tweets that have been searched for multiple times, those that had a click and those who have been ranked. From those parameters it will make a relational matches table in another column. This second column will show the user the articles that are being referenced/pointed the most in that category (topical lens).

Finally it will then apply a master filter rule for the order of the tweets and matched presented: Immediacy. As it concentrates on showing what is was read and searched for in the last 3 hours at any given time.

So for me is like if you mixed the Twitter Search Engine with the Tweetmeme index and Digg ranking mechanics. A very interesting take in trying to generate a “curated” social search by balancing out algorithms, intent and human powered rankings.  At this point is in Alpha, but it makes sense Microsoft is experimenting with this as it could make for the perfect social news search upgrade to integrate into Bing later on. You don’t need a account to use Project Emporia, but you will need to have Silverlight installed. If you want to participate in it, then you will also need a Live ID.

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Project Emporia Info

Project Emporia

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