Earlier this week, Fusible.com uncovered a Microsoft splash page at Socl.com which appeared to be part of a larger social search strategy at the software giant. Curious, I checked out the site yesterday. Glad I did because now the graphics and editorial content on the page, along with the code-name for the project, Tulalip, are gone.

The site initially declared: “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever.” (I tried to dig into the privacy terms on the page, but clicking on the terms didn’t work and it was difficult to find any reference to Microsoft).

Now, interestingly enough, the splash page is gone. In its place is a stripped down message which explains that the site was published accidentally by Microsoft. It reads:

“Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest.”

Hmm. That’s very curious stuff, and it is leading to all sorts of speculation as to what Microsoft is actually building, with the tech press believing that it is a new social search project designed to compete with Google.

Microsoft describes Tulalip (which happens to be the name of a Native American tribe north of Seattle) as an experimental app that integrates with Twitter. Let us know what you think.

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  • http://www.dainbinder.com Dain Binder

    I am sure Microsoft is downplaying their plans a bit, but I don’t think this is intended to compete with Google+ or Facebook. If you are building your own new social network you would not be able to login with another network.

    It almost seems to be a sharing and networking tool. Maybe Q&A and/or a marketplace.

    • http://blog.calbucci.com/ Marcelo Calbucci

      I agree. It feels like it’s a social product experiment, but not a social-graph one.

  • Guest

    I like it. Also the name is much more evocative of fun than is “Google+.” Ironically the latter name isn’t even googlable as most googles ignore the postfix +.

  • Sebellino

    There is absolutely no way that this wasn’t an intentional leak. The current message on socl.com is flippant in a way that Microsoft would never be unless it was deliberate.

    I also don’t think the name “Tulalip” will ever make it onto a public product. No one outside of Seattle can pronounce it and some MSFT people would claim that it is politically sensitive.

    • Guest

      Absolutely no way? Unless of course it was, which you have no way of knowing. Lots of teams at MS put up funny or informal messages. It’s actually a good way of dealing with it if it was an unintentional leak.

      This looks like exactly what they said it is: an internal research project that accidentally got published. It certainly doesn’t look like a FB or Google+ competitor. Tulalip isn’t particularly hard to pronounce. But I agree it’s an unlikely product name coming from MS.

  • Guest

    Couldn’t they have picked a tribal name not largely associated with a casino among Seattle-area residents?

  • Anonymous

    I’d take it at face value. Microsoft Research has lots of people exploring lots of different things. The existence of an experimental project doesn’t necessarily point to any particular product strategy.

  • Omgitszoid

    I heard a rumor that Microsoft was looking for roughly 300,000+ square feet of space on the Eastside for it’s mobile unit or possibly the Xbox folks.  Does anyone have anything on that?

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