Microsoft is looking to light a social-networking FUSE. The company established the Future Social Experiences group, a new social-computing lab that was the brainchild of chief software architect Ray Ozzie and that will be run by Microsoft Research veteran Lili Cheng, CNET reports.
FUSE unites Cheng’s creative systems group from Microsoft Research and two units that were under Ozzie’s oversight: the Media Labs and Startup Labs groups, according to CNET. The new group will initially be made up of about 80 people.
In an email obtained by CNET, Ozzie said:
The three groups being combined have concrete skills and code in areas where “social” meets sharing; where “social” meets real-time; where “social” meets media; where “social” meets search; where “social” meets the cloud plus three screens and a world of devices.
FUSE Labs will bring more coherence and capability to those advanced development projects where they’re already actively collaborating with product groups to help them succeed with “leapfrog” efforts. Working closely with (Microsoft Research) and across our divisions, the lab will prioritize efforts where its capabilities can be applied to areas where the company’s extant missions, structures, tempo or risk might otherwise cause us to miss a material threat or opportunity.
For many years, technology-based “social” innovations have been most commonly viewed through the lenses of communications and collaboration: messaging, chat, calls, meetings, conferences, co-editing, document sharing, collaboration, multiplayer gaming and the like.
More recently, many factors have begun to transform all that which is “social”: the ever-present, high-bandwidth Internet both wired and wireless; the ease of connecting people; the dramatic rise in digital cameras, camera phones and “app-capable” phones; net-connected game consoles and TVs; and so on.
In an interview with CNET, Cheng said:
When you think of what people do on their PCs, so much of it is (to) connect to other people and view information shared with them by their friends. That’s what people do on their computers.
It just feels early to me. It feels like nothing works really well.