So.cl: Microsoft’s New Social Network for youngsters

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So.cl, a new social network has been launched silently by Microsoft, with a fundamental target group of youngsters. Although So.cl is certainly a social product, Microsoft already told that it’s not trying to compete with Facebook, Twitter or Google+. In fact, the company is excited to do something entirely diverse. The new social networking website is designed to provide students the ability to network with their peers to share details. One could search and share interesting web pages with their networks plus share ‘rich posts’ with variety of contents. As well, the general public can use the site, thus Microsoft is targeting, learning communities with it.

So.cl: Microsoft's New Social Network for youngsters

Photo courtesy: tomshardware.com

So.cl (pronounced ‘Social’) was in development for nearly a year. It seeks to give more help for the students, unlike other social networks today. A research project from FUSE Labs in Microsoft Research, So.cl allows users take search results from Bing, and afterward share them with others. Search results can contain standard links also photos and videos. Please note that So.cl uses Bing for searching data through the public API, however it is not a Bing product. The service is available wholly free – no cost to join.

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How it works?

Currently, Microsoft’s so.cl website is accepting registrants by invitation and anyone can utilize his/her Facebook or Windows Live account to register. While the website says it’s open for everybody, anyone who registers will have to wait until the invitation is sent through email. Once you have entered, you will be presented with a range of recommended topics of interest. There is a community for all your interests, whether it’s sports, basket weaving, cute cats, or else. Choose topics as per your interest including Travel, Food, Music, or Tech. After selecting topic, you will be taken to a “Feed” section, like the newsfeeds which you similarly get at the sites like Facebook and Google+. The Feed also displays on other So.cl users’ searches which are powered by Microsoft’s Bing – listing the exploration term the person used (for instance: “Titanic trailer”) and the website it took them to (like “IMDB.com”) in real time.

Similar to Facebook’s share or recommend buttons, So.cl has a “bookmarklet” feature which lets you to share interesting websites with other So.cl users. Besides sharing, commenting, and tagging other users’ posts, a feature Microsoft calls “Riffing” is a new way to interact and improvise with the content. A standout feature available in So.cl is Video Parties, where one can fundamentally make a video playlist and share it with friends. It permits several users to watch (and react to) the same online video concurrently. Coming to privacy and who can view your search data, Microsoft stated that all of your search results and any other data posted to So.cl could be seen by other users unless you tick mark it as private. Microsoft even makes publicly posted data largely accessible for use by third parties.

Competition factor

Actually Google Plus is looking forward to surpass Facebook whereas Social is striving hard in order to keep up with Google Plus’s speed. As far as social networking is taken into consideration, Microsoft would still be running after Google’s path in the long run. So.cl is a newcomer similar to Pinterest. One big question arises – Will Microsoft take away a few of Facebook’s users? Probably not, at least for this present time. It seems that there is no way Microsoft can surpass the $100 billion social networking giant. You may have already noticed Google Plus struggling very hard and yet not making any significant walk. It will be very tough for Social to come nearer to the achievements of two dominating social networks today – Facebook and Google Plus. Or else, it would remain unidentified to most of the people. Overall, this new service also matters a lot and time never remains same so we can’t see about the future.

Positive points:

  • Targets students and younger audience to join
  • Combines search and social networking for the purpose of learning
  • Registration is pretty easy – log in from Facebook like Pinterest or Windows Live
  • Completely free – it costs nothing to join
  • So.cl bookmarklet is a new way to share content on So.cl while navigating the web
  • Generate rich posts, by collecting montages of visual web content
  • Gives rich media sharing and real time sharing of videos through “Video Parties”

Negative points:

  • Have to face a very hard competition in social networking field

Socl – Microsofts New Social Network Review video from youtube:

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