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Microsoft 'Vancouver' social-analytics services close to debut

Microsoft is close to debuting a build of its "Project Vancouver" social-analytics services built on SQL Azure.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

"Project Vancouver" -- a codename I added to my Microsoft Codetracker earlier this year -- seems close to making its official debut.

Microsoft published to its Download Center on October 12 a privacy statement for something called its "social analytics" services. In the file name is a reference to "Project Vancouver." Blogger Steven Bink and a couple other of my contacts noticed the privacy statement and the codename mention this week.

Vancouver, according to what I've heard, is a project that's been incubating inside the SQL Azure team. As one of my sources explained it, Vancouver would make available to developers via an application programming interface (API) access to social-media information stored in SQL Azure. This would allow devs to interface in a one-stop-shop kind of way with a variety of social-media feeds and inputs.

The analytics, viewable via a dashboard (possibly what's called out in the privacy statement as "the site"), would allow users to determine things such as who is an influencer based on who they follow on various services. The privacy statement calls out Twitter specifically; there's no mention of Facebook, LinkedIn and/or other services that could be part of this, too.

But the real, underlying idea, according to my contacts, is Vancouver would encourage more developers to use SQL Azure as a back-end service and to drive Azure adoption. This sounds to me a lot like what Microsoft is doing via its various Azure toolkits for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, social-gaming and Facebook. The idea is to get more developers to use Azure as a back-end for their apps and thus grow the total pool of Azure users.

I've asked Microsoft when the company plans to make a public test build of Vancouver/social analytics available. No word back yet. (It's worth noting, however, that the "final" date on the privacy statement is October 20.)

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