Microsoft is making a "strategic investment" of an undisclosed size in social-media vendor Klout, company officials announced on its Bing Community blog on September 27.
On Bing, Microsoft is going to display Klout data -- including a person's Klout score and topics they are "influential" about -- on the new Bing Sidebar pane for those users who can and want to see this information. And on Klout, "highlights from Bing will begin surfacing in the 'moments' section of some people's Klout profiles," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
This new partnership is related to Microsoft's ongoing work to integrate social-search results into its Bing search engine via the sidebar panel, the same way that it does with Quora and foursquare.
Your reaction to this news probably indicates a lot of things about you. (I know it does of me.)
If you're living in the Silicon Valley area and/or are someone who thinks your Klout score really matters, you probably are thinking: "Wow, Microsoft!" If you're a jaded non-Bubble-dwelling person like me, you might be thinking something more like "Wow, Microsoft?"
As one of my Twitter chums joked today, my Klout score on Microsoft -- which I truly don't know and don't care -- is probably minus-500 after my tweets and this post.
Microsoft is maintaining this isn't all fluff and no stuff. There's also a big-data connection to today's partnership and investment, according to today's post. Microsoft officials have said repeatedly that one of the biggest benefits of Bing is massive amount of information it helps Microsoft collect and parse.
"Search as a new outbound signal is an interesting new development in the way we think about big data and how it can add value to lots of the other services we use each day," according to today's post. (And no, I don't really know what, if anything, that sentence actually means, either.)
I'm not anti-social media. I find Twitter really useful, and I know some do take Klout score quite seriously. I am not among them. I would never use Klout to find an expert in a subject area, as I know that many folks give one another Klout points as jokes. But I'm also someone who doesn't want to see my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn friend's recommendations on my search queries, either -- which is something Microsoft is encouraging with its latest Bing redesign, which the company announced in March 2012.
To try the new Klout-Bing integration, users should go to Bing.com, log into Facebook and try some searches. Microsoft suggests starting with “movies, nfl schedule, or stanford university."
Update: So maybe there really is a big data --and a Hadoop-specific play -- in this Klout arrangement after all. Thanks to another of my Twitter buds, @Lizasisler from Perficient, comes this May 2012 GigaOm story about the relationship between Hadoop, Microsoft and Klout. (Remember, Microsoft is working on Hadoop for Windows Azure, and supposedly still Hadoop for Windows Server.) It sounds from this article as though Klout is a big SQL Server shop and a likely MySQL switcher.