Last week, Curah! was officially announced and released. Curah! is Microsoft's crowd-sourced console for curating the best technical sources on the web. It seeks to pull in and organize content from blogs, web sites, and documentation to enable IT admins to obtain quick results for locating desired technical help. But, not just that, it also allows IT admins and others to help build the technical library by submitting and managing (curating) their own gold nuggets of found information.
Also last week, I promised an interview with Bryan Franz, who has led the charge in developing the new Microsoft enabled offering. Here's that interview:
Me: You have recently launched Curah!, a “curated answers” solution. Can you give an explanation of what Curah! is intended to do?
Bryan: Curah! is a new content curation service that enables anyone to collect the best links on a given subject and present them along with the curator’s own expert guidance and advice. We all know that there is a lot of great content out there – so much, in fact, that it can take time and resources to piece together information about a specific subject from a sea of information. Curah! makes it easy for experts to share their own personal "views" of the best resources on the web, and for anyone else to find a quick path to the best information on a given subject, curated by experts that they can trust. There are already lots of great ways to post a link to a single great article or video or code sample – Curah! is optimized for building "views" that provide links to multiple great sources of content.
Me: Is Curah! intended to replace any current solutions or just add to the depth of information that Microsoft provides?
Bryan: Curah! is intended to complement current content channels by helping make strong Microsoft and community content more discoverable, and giving it the stamp of approval by Microsoft or community experts. One of the things we would like to do is amplify the visibility and impact of great community and local-market content that people would really value but is sometimes lost in the "noise".
Me: I understand that Curah! is powered by Windows Azure. Can you give an overview of what that looks like?
Bryan: Yes, Curah! is powered by Windows Azure – this has been an important design point since the beginning of the project. Azure helped us prototype and get to production quickly, and it will help us scale as we grow.
Me: How many people were involved in developing Curah!?
Bryan: Curah! was built by a small core team with lots of input from partners and customers.
Me: How many people are currently involved in managing Curah!?
Bryan: In addition to the core development team, we have a small team of international site managers working on the site.
Me: Is the submitted content moderated for Spam and other undesirable information and links?
Bryan: The Curah! site managers review the site for spam and other inappropriate content, and will remove content from the site when it is necessary to do so. We also rely on the community to report Inappropriate content to the site admins, as well as send feedback to curators.
Me: Are there any thoughts around developing Windows and Windows Phone apps for Curah!?
Bryan: Yes, we are interested in making Curah! data available via apps and feeds - these capabilities are being considered for a future update.
Me: Can Curah! content be consumed using Bing and other search engines?
Bryan: Yes, Curah! pages are indexed in Bing and Google – in fact, we expect that in practice that most people will find Curah! content via Bing and Google.
Me: What caused you to settle on the name ‘Curah!’?
Bryan: We wanted to choose a memorable name that evokes the fun of content curation – it is easy and fun to share expertise on the site.
Me: What does the roadmap for Curah! look like?
Bryan: The most important part of the roadmap is to observe how people use the site and make updates that create a better experience. To give a few examples, we think it would be interesting if people could like or vote on pages, and if we could provide curators with ways to see how well their pages are doing with others. This is a site for the community, and we invite feedback from everyone.
Curah! is located at http://curah.microsoft.com/.
To start, just sign-in with a Microsoft Account, submit links you've located and like, add your own take, and publish. Pretty simple.