Microsoft's officially opened So.cl, which it calls a social network for everybody. But it's done so quietly: I tried to find an official statement and ended up with nothing. Announced last year in December, So.cl can be used by everyone with a Facebook or a Windows Live ID account. Pronounced "social," it's a research project that combines search and social networking for learning purposes. After logging in, you'll be asked to follow both topics and people. Then you'll see the start page, a feed full of what other users are searching and saying. I guess Microsoft wants everyone to know how you're participating.
There's place called Video Parties, which acts like a YouTube playlist. You can join an existing video party or create your own. In the party, people play and add videos whenever they want. I'm sure it will become annoying when everyone starts skipping, adding, playing and removing others people's content from their party playlist.
Other than that, So.cl looks like the usual social network -- Facebook, Google+ and Myspace come to mind. Still it feels light. One thing worth noting: I could't find any button to log me out, so I guess my account will stay signed in forever. A small excerpt from So.cl's FAQ page:
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.
- 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.
- So.cl helps you create rich posts, by assembling montages of visual web content.
- To encourage interaction and collaboration, So.cl provides rich media sharing, and real time sharing of videos via "video parties."