Between Facebook, Google+, Myspace, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and even Lady Gaga’s new social network, there are more social networks than you likely know what do to with. But if you really insist on having yet another in the mix, then Microsoft’s got just the thing: So.cl (pronounced ‘social’), a new “experiment in social search.”
Microsoft has quietly launched its own social network; but the company swears it isn’t a Facebook competitor. You can even use your Facebook account to log in to it.
The So.cl experimental research project combines social networking and search, according to Microsoft. It was created by Microsoft’s Fuse labs, a “skunkworks” style development lab that is exploring how social information can change and enhance sharing on the web in conjunction with the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University. But it only opened to the public at large this weekend.
So how does it all work? Redmond says searches conducted through So.cl, which is powered by Bing, will be shared publicly by default:
“As students work together, they often search for the same items, and discover new shared interests by sharing links,” the site reads. “We see this trend today on many social networks, such as Twitter, where shared links spread virally and amplify popular content. So.cl experiments with this concept by automatically sharing links as you search.”
In other words, the project is meant to complement Microsoft’s competitors.
So.cl distinguishes itself by focusing on learning and education. The company says its meant to make it easier for students to collaborate, sharing the results of Internet searches and the photos, videos and stories they uncover. The layout resembles an amalgamation of existing social networks, taking cues from Google+, Facebook, Twitter and more.