Microsoft To Wallop Social Networking

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Technology available through the Microsoft IP Ventures program will take its first big step onto the Internet in 2006 when Wallop.com officially launches in the social networking arena.

Microsoft To Wallop Social Networking
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Just when everyone thought MySpace had relegated all the other players into second-tier status, Microsoft announced it would step up and throw a chair (figuratively!) at Fox Interactive Media’s best-known website.

Currently, Wallop has placed a basic web presence online, featuring some of the details of the forthcoming service. Based in Silicon Valley, the startup will be led by Karl Jacob, a former Microsoft executive who has headed psychic advisor site Keen.com, which became Ingenio, and then anti-spam firm Cloudmark.

Wallop will take a cash wallop of its own, collecting venture capital funding from both Microsoft and Bay Partners. The amount of initial investing is not known.

The source of the technology is a little more known, as it emerges from Microsoft’s IP Ventures. That year-old creation offers technology built by Microsoft Research to entrepreneurs who wish to license and develop it further.

Microsoft provided some background on what they feel will differentiate Wallop from other social networking sites:

Wallop solves the problems plaguing current social networking technologies and will introduce an entirely new way for consumers to express their individuality online. For example, today’s social networks have difficulty enabling people to interact in a way similar to the way they would in the real world.

Wallop departs from the friend-of-a-friend model common in all social networks today and the root of many of their problems. Instead, Wallop developed a unique set of algorithms that respond to social interactions to automatically build and maintain a person’s social network.

The model sounds similar to that offered by Multiply, another social networking site. In an interview with Multiply CEO Peter Pezaris, he described the “six degrees of separation” idea of how people may be connected based on relationships.

That model allows Multiply to identify people by existing relationship in the network. For example, Multiply knows that if my brother’s wife joins Multiply, and identifies herself as such, the site knows she is my sister-in-law.

How closely Wallop comes to that model won’t be known until its release this year.

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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Microsoft To Wallop Social Networking
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