Microsoft gets social
Facebook may have stolen the spotlight in recent weeks, with its Initial Public Offering making headlines around the world and Mark Zuckerberg's impromptu wedding turning heads – but amongst all that drama, another social network has quietly started.
Introducing So.cl – pronounced social – the latest project from Microsoft's Fuse Labs. Dubbed "an experimental research project," the site is dedicated to providing people with a platform to search and share for the purpose of learning.
It has actually been around since late last year, but Microsoft only recently opened it up for use by the public – a move that obviously generated interest, as the site's server seems to be overloaded. Currently, when you join you will be added to the waiting list.
"We're going to get to work fixing some issues you found on So.cl and open the site again shortly," a representative from Fuse Labs said in a blog post yesterday (May 21).
"In the meantime if you sign in we will add you to the list and email you shortly."
If Microsoft was launching this as a rival to Facebook, then this kind of response may have been ridiculed. Fortunately, the multinational corporation has made it clear that So.cl is not designed to compete with the other big players in the social media game.
"We expect students to continue using products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other existing social networks, as well as Bing, Google and other search tools," the company states in the So.cl FAQs.
You can even sign in with your Facebook account – using it like an application – or with your Windows Live details.
So.cl's main intention is to encourage students to search and share information that they find interesting, relevant and useful. It actually combines elements of Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest quite nicely – a good search function, a decent sharing platform and plenty of attractive images.
It even has the option to create video parties where you can chat and interact with your friends.
The big question for companies may be – will it be useful for social media marketing? To understand that, we will have to wait for Microsoft to fix those technical issues and take us off the waiting list.
Until then, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ it is.
Posted by Jess O'Connor