Microsoft has quietly launched its own social network for beta testing. It is described as a social search tool to share information and meet people of common interest. Do we really need another social network? Microsoft thinks so, alongside other new and emerging social network platforms.
According to Microsoft, So.cl is an experimental research project focused on the future of social experience and learning. The focus is on younger people, it combines social networking with web browsing and search for the purpose of learning. The tool was created at Microsoft Research FUSE labs composed on R and D teams developing products on new media and social tools, other products from fuse.microsoft.com are CompanyCrowd, Docs.com, Kodu, Spindex and Montage.
Obviously, the launch of the social network has met skepticism from the tech community (below is a tweet from one), but Microsoft is firm on the usefulness of the new service. Although the focus is on students and research, the social network is opened to anyone.
“The world is DESPERATELY in need of ANOTHER social network” – What Microsoft was thinking before building so.cl
— Clive Uche Ayonye (@CliveUA) May 22, 2012
Features of the So.cl include a bookmarking feature also similar to Facbook’s like button (It is funny how social network sites tend to ‘borrow’ from others). The site lets users share sites or pages they find interesting with other users. It also has a video party feature which allows users chat with others and incorporate their videos into the chat.
Users can build posts with photos, videos and text and share them. The company states it is not in direct competition with any of the other social sites but its tool is designed as a layer on top of other existing networks.