Microsoft launches a celebrity-tracking app for the iPhone

Snipp3t. (Microsoft)

Snipp3t. (Microsoft)

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, Last Updated: 7:01 AM ET

Snipp3t automatically follows the lives of those in the public eye, collecting and aggregating news about them and pushing it to your smartphone. All you have to do is choose who you want to follow.

Using the free app is pretty simple. It includes profiles for over 100,000 "celebrities" by which Microsoft means everyone from Oscar-winning regulars to the principle actors in "Sharkando 2" and pretty much every step in-between. Subscribe to one or more of these profiles and Snipp3t will access Bing to bring you the latest news.

But the things that really make Snipp3t stand out are who made it and who it is aimed at. Microsoft is famous for creating software products that are obligatory rather than desirable. Unless you're a complete technophile and can embrace Linux, if you want to use a PC you need Windows. If you need to write a report, you're going to need Word, and so on.

Creating something as trivial as Snipp3t could be seen as a vain attempt to connect with a younger generation -- like a dad trying to seem cool in front of his kids' friends. However, Microsoft claims that the app is a way of highlighting Bing's capabilities.

"Bing is not just Bing.com; it's also a platform. And one of the goals of SNIPP3T was to demonstrate that Bing could be useful as a platform in a variety of scenarios," said Microsoft's David Chen in a blog post.

But, apparently, Snipp3t is also offering a new service. Until now, if you wanted to track a celebrity you could use web searches or social media but it wasn't possible to aggregate across the two or to present the information in one place.

The second surprise is that Microsoft has decided to launch the app initially for iOS rather than its own Windows Phone platform, or for Android. But, according to Alisher Saydalikhodjayev, a Bing product marketing manager, this is part of the company's new philosophy. "We're no longer just an OS company. We're evolving into more of a services and cloud company. And within services you have to go after users," he says.

If Snipp3t catches on with iPhone and iPad users, expect it to land on other platforms too and also expect a host of other apps the company has in the pipeline.


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