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April 17, 2006

Microsoft to acquire Eurekster?

Posted by David Hunter at 6:45 PM ET.

Olga Kharif at BusinessWeek online reports on Microsoft’s efforts to expand the relevance of their search engine results via so-called “social search.” Amid the discussion is:

The foray into social search may not end with the new tool, either. Microsoft is in talks to buy or forge a partnership with two-year-old startup, specializing in social-network search, BusinessWeek Online has learned from people familiar with the matter. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

Launched by two serial entrepreneurs who’d previously dabbled in search and social networking, Eurekster essentially combines generic search, though a partnership with Yahoo, with information culled from social-networking sites, such as Thanks to Eurekster’s technology, a Friendster user searching for “skin care” would get results that reflect reviews and preferences of a predefined group, be it friends, neighbors, or another affinity group — say pregnant women.

The presentation is marred by a conflation of a “Q&A service” with “social search” which is rectified by Danny Sullivan and Don Dodge. The net is that while Microsoft plans a Q&A service called Windows Live Answers where users can ask questions and other users offer answers, this is pretty much a “me too” of previous offerings from a number of companies that have never been successful before.

On the other hand, what Eurekster offers (reviewed in detail here) is a horse of a different color. I’m still skeptical of many of the claims for adding social features to Web offerings (eg. here), but if you read “demographic” for “affinity group,” maybe there’s a pony in social search.

Filed under Acquisitions, Live Search, MSN, MSN Search, Microsoft, Social networking, Technologies, Windows Live, Windows Live QnA

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One Response to “Microsoft to acquire Eurekster?”

  1. Windows Live QnA beta revealed -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Microsoft’s rumored “Windows Live Answers” service has slipped out the door into beta as Windows Live QnA: Here we are – Windows Live QnA! [...]

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