Microsoft So.cl (Social) Silently Launched
Oh no, not another networking site, please, for god's sake. That was my first thought when I read about Microsoft So.cl when it was first announced. With Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and myriads of specialized social networking sites like Pinterest or Chill, it has become quite crowded in the place. New services who want any chance of success need to either have the backing of a large Internet player, or an idea that introduces something new to the scene. We have seen the explosive growth of services like Pinterest, which have introduced something new, and Google Plus, which is backed by Google's whole marketing machinery and integrated into nearly every Google service out there.
Now it is So.cl, which happened to be activated earlier accidentally, and then pulled again by Microsoft. The service as of today is accessible again, which may be another accident, or a silent launch. Regardless of why it is now available, it is not the best of starts, considering that users do not really know about the service, and do not see the service plastered over all of Microsoft's hot properties on the Internet.
Interested users can sign up for So.cl with their Windows Live ID or their Facebook account. Once that is out of the way you see the usuall assortment of first steps laid out in front of you. You see some suggested topics that you may be interested in, popular users who are already using So.cl, and if you used your Facebook account to sign-up, your Facebook friend's who have signed-up already.
According to Microsoft, socl combines web browsing, search and social networking with each other. Lets see what your options are:
- You can obviously befriend users on socl by following them. If you do that, you see their posts in your feed
- You can also browse through the global feed. I'm not really sure how this will work out when millions of users are posting on socl, for now though.
- When you see a post of interest, you can like it, comment on it, tag it, share it or riff it. The latter requires some explanation. If you riff a post on socl, you basically post a response to that post. If you see a post full of photos of Jerusalem, you might want to riff it to add your own photos or notes that relate to the original post. A link to the riffed post is added to the original post and vice versa. This works similar to YouTube's video response feature.
- You create new posts by entering a topic of interested into the form at the top of the page. Socl uses Bing as its search engine, and you will find image, video and text, as well as results from feeds in the results listing. You can now add contents to your post, and add links and tags manually to it as well.
- You can also join and create video parties. This basically allows you to create a chat room and add videos to it from various video hosting sites. Other users can then join the room, and chat about the videos that they watch, and add videos of their own to the room.
- A bookmarklet is available that lets you share contents that you find on the Internet to So.cl directly.
The search to post and video party ideas are neat, but I'm not really convinced that they are enough to help the service take off, let alone compete with the heavyweight social networking sites.
New users may want to check out the settings first to make sure the notification and privacy settings are to their liking. By default, emails digests will be send out on a weekly basis, and notifications will be send out when someone comments on a post or search, tags the user, invites or sends a private message.
What's your take on So.cl? Will you give it a try, or wait to see how it fares first?Advertisement