Over the weekend Microsoft officially launched its social network, So.cl. Combining social, search, and media elements, So.cl aims to socialize search by making your queries visible to other members.
Previously released as an “experimental research project,” So.cl was only available to students studying information and design at select universities. Although the site is still considered experimental, it’s now open to the public.
So.cl’s layout is similar to that of Google+ with borrowed elements from Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can follow other members or interests and share content from anywhere through the “Share on So.cl” bookmarklet feature.
Because searches are visible to other So.cl members, you’re able to collaborate and build upon an existing search result for any person, place, or thing. Additionally, you can watch videos while chatting with friends or co-workers through So.cl’s “video parties” feature.
You can sign up using your Facebook or Windows Live ID. Although your searches on So.cl are visible to other members — as well as third parties — the site doesn’t automatically post searches, comments, or likes to your Facebook account unless you authorize it.
It’s unknown if So.cl will ever integrate with Bing’s recently revamped social search. Microsoft was careful to point out that it’s not a Bing product— although it does use Bing for search through the public API.
Whether it will sink or swim in an already over-saturated market is unknown. We can’t see any competitive advantages over social giants like Facebook.