Although it appears that the world no longer needs another social network, Microsoft opened its new project to the public called Socl. Launched last year as a beta for Microsoft employees and college students, Microsoft’s latest social network now lets Internet users to register using their Facebook or Microsoft accounts.
Socl, a Pinterest-ish Social Network
Although considered as a new social network, Socl is more like Pinterest than Facebook. As posted on its About Page:
Socl—pronounced social—allows you to express and share your ideas though rich post collages comprised of images, links, captions and videos.
Its landing page is filled with photo collages, which is a change on its original design during its beta period. The Microsoft’s social network was born from Microsoft Research FUSE Labs’ research into social search for students.
Now, all users can sign up and search for content by searching based on topic or letting Socl randomly generate it. Moreover, users can create a post by pulling content such as images, videos and links from the Web, and the website will put it together in a collage. Users can also “riff” or comment on other posts, as well as share related links and images.
On the other hand, a profile page is a gallery of posts that users created, interests and people that they follow. Thus, Socl is more of the content than of friends. When it comes to networking, Microsoft’s social media site will find a user’s Facebook friends, although it also encourages them to explore and connect with other people based on common interests and posts that they like.
Socl: A Facebook Competitor?
With the release of Socl, many were asking whether it will be a Facebook competitor or not. But it isn’t much of the social networking giant. In fact, it is more akin to Pinterest—a good way to spend few hours browsing random photos and links on the Web instead of being a communication tool.
In addition, Microsoft acknowledges the social network’s limitations. As posted on their About Page, Socl is not designed to compete with established social media websites. Instead, it is an “experimental research project with a minimal set of features.”
The software giant is trying to create a unified, cross-platform ecosystem that extends across hardware, software, search engines and, now, social network. However, it remains to be seen whether the company can shed off its old-fashioned image and join a new era of technology that is governed by touch and social.