Microsoft launches their own Social Network – So.cl
The whole world seems to be going social and Microsoft has followed suit with a quiet launch of its new social networking site, www.so.cl. This website is already displaying principles that Facebook had in its infancy, with its core objective being to allow socialization among learners. So.cl, which is pronounced as ‘social’, aims at combining social and search so that individuals can be able to share what they search with their friends.
Social powered by Bing
So.cl is powered by Bing, and it has a few features, though not quite as many as that of its counterparts in the industry. The developers however insist that it was not created to rival other social networking sites, but instead to work with them. Therefore, Microsoft hopes that after you have liked various instagram pictures on Facebook, tweeted and retweeted on twitter, connected with friends on LinkedIn and watched a movie with your circle of friends on Google+, you will take a break and log into so.cl where your socialization is, hopefully, academic.
With so.cl, you will be able to conduct a search on various topics and choose whether your friends can view it. Your friends are not added automatically and the user has to manually add friends who will have access to the results of their searches. So.cl users can also discover new interests and share their ideas with individuals who share their opinions. They can also have a video party where they can connect with friends and have a chat.
So.cl is clearly an experiment, considering the few features that it can boast of. It does however borrow a leaf from some of the common social media networks such as video interaction from Google plus. A lot of critics have wondered what the point of so.cl is considering that Microsoft has already incorporated social search into their search engine, Bing.
However, is not limited to academics, despite the fact that so.cl was developed with learners in mind. This website is open to everyone and searches can steer away from classroom topics to topics that are interesting and that could be shared among friends.
Facebook / Windows Live Integration
So.cl could revolutionize academic discussions as it helps students to share links from their searches with their friends. It has considered that most students conduct search on similar topics and it is trying to make this search more fruitful, interactive and fun. It also allows people to search for videos which can be viewed together with friends at an agreed time. To sign-in to So.cl you need either a Windows Live account or a Facebook Account.
Learn and Chat
So.cl is aimed at providing learners with a unique experience whereby they can search and chat at the same time, just as they would whenever they work together as a group. The posts on so.cl are richer as they combine links to the internet with media sharing and interacting.
A lot of critics have said that Microsoft seems to be going the Google way with the aim of incorporating all its tools in a single site and putting a social spin on it, which is the case with Google Plus. So.cl is still in its experimental stages and at the moment there seem to be quite a few rough edges. Hopefully, if it is well received, it will be able to sharpen its features and add new applications that will help it to compete or even effectively work together with other social media networks and search engines. However, if it tanks, there will still be quite a few lessons that Microsoft will learn, especially about the searching patterns of users.
Finding answers beyond normal web search
The jury is still out on whether So.cl will survive outside of academic circles, and whether people will be willing to make their searches social. Search has always given individuals the power to seek answers to any topic. This power has been fuelled by the fact that search is mostly very private, and that individuals can Google or Bing on anything from the privacy of their computers or mobile phones. Some searches are mundane, while others seek answers to information that people would normally not want to share. The thought that your friends will know that you conducted a search on a racy topic is a bit daunting. Analysts are therefore skeptical on whether Microsoft’s so.cl will really manage to capture a huge percentage of the market outside academic circles, though only time can tell.