fuse labs

Here's an odd little number: Dotastic hit the Marketplace sometime today and it's yet another official app from Microsoft, specifically their FUSE Labs, which specialize in social networking technology (see the WP7 'Project Emporia'). If you're not familiar with them here's their mission statement:

"FUSE Labs works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work."

Dotastic is an app that mixes a to-do list with the fun and pressure of social networking--its motto is "Achieve Together". Think of it as broadcasting things to get done to your friends, where you then compete against each other by collecting points upon task completion. It's a method of using social pressure but in a positive way, which we think is pretty ingenious (so long as your task isn't too private, ahem). From the app description:

"Dotastic is a fun way to challenge your friends and help each other get things done. Earn points for completing tasks and compete with your friends to be at the top of the leaderboard. Incentives and social pressure helps you stay motivated as you complete your tasks and share your achievements with everyone."

It's like Twitter, but with a point. The app seems to coincide with the website www.dotastic.com, which is not yet live. We imagine that website will allow you to access your account (which is done via Facebook) and use it as primary interface, whereas the mobile app is for...well, when you're on the go.

You can downland the app by clicking this link, but understand at this time it's currently not working. The app needs to communicate with the Dotastic server, which is that aforementioned website. Until that goes live, you won't be able to complete the setup. One thing is for certain, Microsoft is having fun playing around with social networks, apps and technologies akin to Google (but nicer looking).

via: WindowsPhoneMetro

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Microsoft's experimental news feed program, called Project Emporia, just received a nice upgrade to version 1.2--it's first update in three months. Hailing from Microsoft's Research FUSE labs, this is one of those apps where you are helping Microsoft "test" some new ideas out.

In essence, it's a news reader with the ability to choose by category e.g. technology, politics, etc. But then you can vote up or down stories to better refine your likes, giving you a more tailored user experience:

Every day we face an information overflow; data is coming at us through so many channels that it is difficult to weed out the gems that are important to us from all the noise. For those who are not social media mavens, the whole problem can be intimidating.

Project Emporia offers a solution to this. It sifts through ever-evolving news streams to identify hot news stories, categorizes them into topic areas and ranks them, and then presents them to you in a friendly and easy-to-use UI. With Project Emporia you get relevant stories on topics of YOUR choice.

You can influence how future stories are chosen for you, one vote at a time. Your votes will improve the relevance of your news story choices not just for you, but for every other user as well.

Previous versions were "meh", often being slow and not that fun. Version 1.2 though makes the app much better, in our opinion, since it's now more zippy, has more options available and is basically fun to experiment with. Here are some of the major 1.2 new features:

  • Unified Web and WP7 accounts
  • Facebook and Twitter integration
  • Improved sharing via Twitter
  • Social channels

You can grab Projecct Emporia right here in the Marketplace.

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