Microsoft has opened its rather modest – and somewhat retro – social networking site to the public.
Aimed primarily at students, So.cl was developed by Microsoft’s FUSE Labs and isn’t intended as a rival to existing social media sites, says the company.
Instead it’s aimed at students – as Facebook initially was – with the company partnering with the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University.
“So.cl combines social networking and search, to help people find and share interesting web pages in the way students do when they work together,” it says.
“We expect students to continue using products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other existing social networks, as well as Bing, Google and other search tools. We hope to encourage students to reimagine how our everyday communication and learning tools can be improved, by researching, learning and sharing in their everyday lives.”
Notably, Microsoft doesn’t mention Google+ in the list; and, like Google’s service, So.cl does combine social with search. Searches on So.cl, which are powered by Bing, are shared publicly by default.
Users are encouraged to create ‘beautiful’ posts by assembling links from around the net, which are diaplayed as a visual montage. ‘video party’ feature allows real-time sharing of videos.
“As students work together, they often look for the same content, and discover new shared interests by sharing results,” says the company. “These results can be web pages, images, or videos found through Bing.”