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OK, so this is officially a trend. With the announcement yesterday that Microsoft will make a “strategic investment” in social media metrics company Klout, the Redmond company is taking another step to boost its social media street cred.

The deal follows Microsoft’s investment in Facebook, its acquisition of Skype for $8.5 billion, and its purchase of corporate social network Yammer for $1.2 billion. With the investments and acquisitions, the company has a sizable stake in social media even without a real homegrown social network of its own. (That thing is really just an experiment.)

Microsoft isn’t disclosing the size of its investment in Klout, but the San Francisco company says it’s part of a multi-year agreement that will make Microsoft’s Bing search engine “one of Klout’s most significant partners.”

As a first step, Microsoft announced that it’s integrating Klout scores and influential topics into the “People Who Know” section of the Bing sidebar.

In addition, Klout says it will be able to use search data from Microsoft Bing to help determine a person’s influence. For example, the Klout scores of people who have Wikipedia accounts associated with their Klout profiles will take into account the number of searches for those people on Bing.

Klout’s Joe Fernandez writes in a blog post, “This is a small step for Bing and Klout towards a very big idea: search through people. You will see a continuous flow of innovation from our joint development team focused on the discovery and recognition of influencers on both Bing and Klout.”

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