We know that you’ve been waiting with bated breath for Microsoft’s social network to come out of accidental beta. Your time is now.
For the rest of you, of course, we’re talking about the teaser page, which appeared this summer at Socl.com revealing "Tulalip," Microsoft's code word for its service, promising a new way to "Find what you need and Share what you know." This week, Microsoft began testing it and gave the folks at Verge exclusive access.
The site will eventually be rolled out to the public, though no timeframe has been specified. In the meantime, the buzz going around seems focused on how much it resembles Google+ and Facebook, but offers a simplified layout and some core searching functionality.
Searching and sharing are key, and connections with friends are encouraged. While Socl offers options for regular searching and search through tagging, its most valuable asset may be its social search functionality. Through it, users can glean information from a variety of sources, including informational sites, their friends and traditional search results to find what’s most relevant.
Socl also features video-sharing capabilities, including a video party feature that allows users to chat with each other while watching YouTube. Because there is no Netflix or Vimeo support just yet, such activity may seem limiting and a little immature. However, the site is mostly built on HTML5, so video load time won’t be hindered by the likes of Silverlight or Flash.
Another Piece of the Social Network Puzzle
It’s hard to understand how Socl will fit into our already congested system of social networks. Like Google + before it, Socl will have to compete with the ways users currently work and therefore will have to demonstrate the inherent value of its platform. Of course, it’s not even known when or if Socl will make it into the hands of the public, so all of this might not even matter.