Bing, appears to have left the company and joined Twitter this week. Ko?cz's Twitter messages are protected and he hasn't changed any of his profiles online, but we noticed tonight that he's been added to the list of staff members on the Twitter website. The company has yet to respond to our request for comment. Update: Around noon on Thursday, a spokesperson for Twitter confirmed Ko?cz's hire to us by email.Alek Ko?cz, Principal Scientist at Microsoft's search engine
Ko?cz spent nearly five years at Microsoft after leaving AOL where he was a system architect. He now joins his old friends from the AOL days, the search scientists who came to Twitter in the Summize acquisition of 2008. According to LinkedIn, Ko?cz will be the 8th former Microsoft employee at Twitter. Twitter's full staff consists of 362 people. (There are only 360 on the official Twitter list of staff though, thus our suspicion that something interesting was afoot!)
Ko?cz is an info-science heavy, having published numerous research articles in publications like The Journal of Supercomputing, Neurocomputing and Neural Networks. He appears to have a special affinity for spam crushing, something Twitter must struggle with a whole lot. As use of the service grows, so too will the importance of its search - especially given the very public nature of Twitter's data.
Bing powers search not just at Microsoft, but at Yahoo as well. Combined, that means that the search technology Ko?cz has been the lead scientist behind has performed 12% of all searches in the United States. There is only one Principal Scientist at Bing, but it appears he's now gone to Twitter.
Update: There appears to be some question about just how unique Ko?cz is as Principal Scientist at Bing. Microsoft is a giant pile of people with impressive titles, but no one else describes themselves as a Principal Scientist on Bing in their LinkedIn profiles at least. Jan Pedersen, however, does describe himself as the Chief Scientist of Core Search at Microsoft. I'll do some more investigation to try to determine how central Ko?cz has been on Bing.
Bing announced that it was including Twitter updates in its search results more than a year ago, in what was presumed to be one of Twitter's first big money-making deals.
Lest you tsk-tsk Microsoft too much for losing a big important data scientist, keep in mind that our last Microsoft HR story here had things going the other direction. See: Microsoft Hires World's Leading Geo-Dissident to Join Bing Maps Team