Will Microsoft Be the Next Big Thing In Social Networking? You know how celebrities “accidentally” have some secret leaked before releasing their next movie or song? Apparently, Microsoft (newssite) is embracing this marketing strategy and getting lots of press for its potential new social search project codenamed Tulalip.

Should Google Be Concerned?

Someone at Microsoft Research publicly posted a landing page for what is suspected to be a new entrant into the social networking market.

Leaked Microsoft social site splash page
Leaked Microsoft social site splash page

The page indicates users will be able to connect to Facebook and Twitter. The majority of links and features on the landing page did not function; however, clicking on the Twitter authorization indicated that the application will be able to:

  • Read Tweets from your timeline
  • See whom you follow, and follow new people
  • Update your profile
  • Post Tweets for you

Is this a response to wild popularity of Google+? Perhaps. The domain name, http://www.socl.com, where the landing page was originally posted, was purchased after Google+ launched. The domain name, which may be the future brand name of the product, is an shortened form of the word “social."

Like any good celebrity, Microsoft is declining to comment beyond the vague statement, 

It is an internal design project from one of Microsoft’s research teams which was mistakenly published to the web.” 

The landing page has been taken down and replaced with the only statement that Microsoft is releasing about its potential social networking tool.

The new content on http://www.socl.com
The new content on http://www.socl.com

Microsoft Research Gets Social

Tulalip is not the only social-computing endeavor that Microsoft is pursuing. Microsoft Research has a dedicated team, FUSE (Future Social Experiences) Labs, dedicated to creating social projects that may become Microsoft product offerings. The team’s most recent project is a social newspaper named CompanyCrowd, which sources content dynamically from Twitter, Facebook, Bing or an RSS source. Microsoft is in the process of enhancing Bing’s social search capabilities.

Nobody really knows what this super-secret project will become, but that’s not stopping everyone from pontificating if the software giant is officially entering the social networking ring to be the next “not Facebook.” Given the increased pressure the research division is under to transition projects to commercial, it is unlikely whatever the team is developing will stay under wraps for long. What do you think Microsoft has in the works? Let us know your best guess.