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Summary:

Microsoft’s Lili Cheng, who leads the Future Social Experiments Lab at Microsoft, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo today, previewed a new product called Spindex, aka a “social personal index, or a modern rolodex.” The idea is to tap into your world of social contacts, live.

Instead of one-size-fits-all search, what if you could do “your own personal index, archiving your own information for yourself that’s private, and you could possibly also share?” asked Lili Cheng, who leads the Future Social Experiments Lab at Microsoft, speaking at the Web 2.0 Expo. She answered her question with a preview of a new product called Spindex, aka a “social personal index, or a modern rolodex.”

Spindex is supposed to be available in some limited form for people with Windows Live IDs at http://www.spindex.me/, but I haven’t been able to access that URL yet. From the web-based tool, users can access their social networks and personal information from Twitter and Facebook, get related content through Bing, and save information to Evernote. From the description, it sounds as though it has aspects that are similar to existing social-media dashboard tools such as Tweetdeck and Seesmic.

The idea is to tap into what’s happening in your world of contacts at any one time, Cheng said. You can see your stream, search for keywords in status updates, dive into trending topics and save queries. The tool also pulls forward articles and information it thinks you will find useful, like Facebook’s filtered news feed. Cheng described Spindex as more of a personal search and newsreader tool, rather than a social inbox-type product like Threadsy.

  1. Thanks Liz for sharing the story. Tried to log-in multiple times but it seems that Spindex doesn’t work at all. I wonder why Microsoft will announce when the product is not ready to us.

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    1. I’m not sure — it does seem half-baked. I’ve asked for an invite through press channels as well and they haven’t sent one yet.

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  2. Thanks for the article Liz. I attempted to test it out, but it wouldn’t let me login. It’s reminding me of the Kin release in that it’s a good idea, but the execution just…well, isn’t.

    Microsoft seems to be coming a little late to the party though. With tools like Addictomatic and Social Mention, Spindex’s main appeal seems to be that it’s connected to Window’s Live and allows you to save information directly to Evernote. On the other hand, do enough people really have Window’s Life id’s to make that a viable reason to use it? It seems like with the ubiquity of Gmail, Google Alerts would be easier to integrate.

    But, this is all speculative, since it wouldn’t let me log in.

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  3. It doesn’t sound very personal and private to me. Your information stops becoming private as soon as you are born, as soon as you connect a computer to the Internet, and walk into the world. Because a company says the information will be private, doesn’t mean it will be private. It’s up to you to keep your information private. I don’t think using a service like Spindex to access other services like Facebook and Twitter will make your information become private. Also, it’s Microsoft, so they’re really just trying to keep pace with their companions and rivals in any way possible.

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  4. [...] GigaOM, Microsoft is working on a social media tracking tool called Spindex allowing users to access [...]

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