Socl: Microsoft’s Secret Social Network

Posted by · November 16, 2011 10:39 am

After dismissing rumors of a social search project—oddly named “Tulalip”—back in July, Microsoft is finally coming clean on what it’s been up for the past several months. Taking what several critics have deemed a rather unimpressive swing at the current social media pecking order, Socl (pronunciation unknown) is going to be Microsoft’s answer to Facebook, Twitter, and most notably, search rival Google Plus.

“Well, you’re going to copy Facebook, Twitter, and Google+,” retorts OSNews’s Thom Holwerda, “remove two letters from a word (because the trend of removing one letter wasn’t obnoxious enough), and hope for the best.”

As for the service itself, Holwerda’s outlook doesn’t get any better, as he describes Socl as “basically a social network with integrated Bing search functionality.”

While the Microsoft social network does boast a video chat feature (“Party”) not unlike the Hangouts feature on Google Plus, Socl doesn’t have a personal chat feature, groups, or any kind of at-reply feature. However, considering it’s still in the “Research Project” phase, we may not be looking at the version of Socl that will ultimately be released to the public, if that even happens.

To be honest, the situation on Microsoft’s secret social network isn’t much clearer than it was when the project was “unintentionally” leaked under a different name a few months ago. And that may be because Microsoft isn’t even sure what Socl’s focus is going to be yet.

My opinion? If Microsoft is determined to create a social networking site, its focus should be to capitalize on the errors of its key competitor in the social networking game—Google. Instead of eyeing Facebook the way Google did with Google Plus, Microsoft’s sole purpose for Socl should be to increase the use of Bing. Anything more, unfortunately, would be a pipedream, at least right now.

Needless to say, the situation as it currently stands over at Microsoft does not bode well for a social site that is reported to be rapidly approaching the public testing stage.