Microsoft testing new social network
Following leaked information back in July, Microsoft is now said to be publicly testing its own social network.
According to technology news publication The Verge the project – named Socl, after the original title of Tulalip was scrapped – appears to have strong similarities to other services such as Facebook and Twitter.
Promising a new way to "find what you need and share what you know", it adds a stronger search and discovery focus to online social interaction.
According to one Verge reporter, the interface "offers a bare bones, three column layout, with basic navigation in the left rail, a social feed down the middle, and invites and video party options on the right".
Gone are Facebook and Twitter's list-making tools and status updates, instead replaced by a "what are you searching for?" field at the top of the page.
While this may be a subtle incorporation of Microsoft's search engine Bing, it also creates a new type of social media update – publishing search term or results in the users feed.
Friends' updates and tags can be sorted by type – web, news, images and video – as Socl mirrors the push for 'social search' that has emerged from Google+.
Video results provide one of the greatest points of difference for Microsoft's site, creating a "video party" feature – complete with chat – for watching YouTube clips simultaneously with friends.
However Socl is still in the research phase, so there is a possibility that it will not be released as a mainstream product.
Overall Socl has responded the user feedback from Facebook and Twitter – there is no direct or private interaction with those on a friend list, instead relying on the idea that topics of interest will be a conversation point amongst mutual friends.