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Social Computing
Social Computing

To research and develop software that contributes to compelling and effective social interactions.


Our mission in the Social Computing Group is to research and develop software that contributes to compelling and effective social interactions, with a focus on user-centered design processes and rapid prototyping combined with rigorous social science.

We believe in getting our projects in the hands of users. Many of the projects listed below are available to the public.


Lili Cheng
Scott Counts
Danyel Fisher
Jonathan Grudin
Matt Hurst
Marc Smith


The projects below represent current working projects along with a handful of earlier projects. Please visit our past projects page for a more complete list of earlier work.

  • Hotmap: The use of Virtual Earth

    Hotmap shows where people have looked at when using Virtual Earth, the engine that powers Live Search Maps. Hotmap is a mash-up of data over the original Virtual Earth tiles. Hotmap generates new image tiles based on data stored in a database, and superposes them over Virtual Earth, using the AddTileLayer method.

  • SlamXR: Routes, Sensors, Community

    SlamXR is a social system based on GPS routes, SlamXR allows users to upload routes (via our custom hardware or off-the-shelf GPS) for logging, categorizing, viewing, and sharing. Routes are uploaded over the air via a Windows Mobile device, then are auto-categorized for activity and difficulty level. Routes and people can be searched for in a number of ways, and routes can be viewed color coded by any available data, such as by speed or heart rate. Route types (e.g., runs of moderate difficulty tagged with 'BurkeGillmanTrail' or 'SeattleRunnersClub') can be subscribed to via RSS.

  • SNARF: the Social Network and Relationship Finder

    SNARF was built around the notion that social network information that is already available to the computer system can be usefully reflected to the user. For example, a message from a manager might be seen differently than a message from a stranger. SNARF applies this idea to email triage, handling the flow of messages when time is short and mail is long. The SNARF UI is designed to provide a quick overview of unread mail, organized by its importance. The UI shows a series of different panes with unread mail in them and each pane shows a list of message authors. Clicking on a name shows all messages involving that person.

  • Slam: Mobile group-based communication and media sharing

    Slam is a mobile device-based application that enables lightweight, group-centric real-time communication, location awareness and photo-sharing. The core concept behind Slam is a “Slam”, a group of people with whom you can exchange messages and photos. When you send a message in Slam, it is automatically sent to everyone in the group to which you sent it.

  • Wallop:

    In Wallop, you can share photos, blog, and interact with your friends. Wallop is a research project that explores how people share media and build conversations in the context of social networks.

    Images: Default view of social network, blog & profile
    Relationship map between 2 people showing common people, media, & comments

  • Netscan: Social network and user activity analysis of Usenet

    The Netscan System provides detailed reports on the activity of Usenet newsgroups, the authors who participate in them, and the conversation threads that emerge from their activity. Using the Netscan tool users can get reports about any newsgroup for any day, week, month, quarter, or year, since September 1999.


Below is a sample of recent papers. For a complete list of papers, please visit individual researcher's pages or our past papers page.


Microsoft Research hosts an annual Social Computing Symposium, bringing together researchers and practioners innovating in the area of social computing. The goal for the symposium is to mind-share and stimulate collaboration and creative thinking amongst attendees.

Click through for lists of speakers, agenda, and videos of talks.

Feedback / Contact Us

To contact Social Computing Group please email us at

Last updated: August, 2008