Microsoft has finally released official details on its notquite super-secret social search tool So.cl. The social site generated quite abit of buzz this summer when a preview of the home page was accidentallyreleased into the wild. Were all the guesses about So.cl correct? Of coursenot.
So.cl Is Definitely Not Facebook
In July, we reported that Microsoft was working on a newsocial search effortcode name Tulalip. The company purchased a domain forthe site only afew days after the widely proclaimed Google+ launch. This ledmany tobelieve that Microsoft would soon be the proud owner of a new social network to attract the masses.
The rumors were true -- kind of. Microsoftdoeshave a new social network, but it’s not the latest Facebookkiller. The lasttime we visited the site, the homepage featured anapology from Microsoft forits embarrassing slip into prime time. Thepage has been updated with officialdetails and the opportunity to signup for the service.
Unfortunately, the service is not live and signup only addsyou to awaiting list. If you are invited to join the preview, you will be able to invite your friends. If you were hoping for another free site tostorephotos of your drunken office holiday party escapades, you areout of luck. So.cl, pronounced social, isn’t Microsoft attempt to benext Twitter, Google+ orTumblr. It’s also not a search engine. What isit exactly?
So.cl is a tool for students that use social media toenhancelearning that Microsoft’s FuSE team has been testing internally and with the University of Washington, Syracuse University and New York University. So.cl is a combination of social networking and search designed to spur innovation in the use ofsocial media in academia.The tool was built using the technology behind Bing.So.cl allows usersto create posts with photos, video, text and other content. Userscanfind members with similar interests and build communities around them.
Microsoft haspublished an FAQ about the service, which provides additional details.
So.cl is certainly pretty, but it remains to be seen if itwilltransform how academics interact with social media. Microsoft has said there are no plans to integrate the features into any of its enterpriseproductslike Sharepoint or Outlook, perhaps trying to combat theoutcry that Microsoftis “getting them young” so they will demandMicrosoft once they enter theworkforce. We will continue watchingSo.cl as it moves beyond the preview stateto see if it manages topermeate academia.