Back in July, a Microsoft splash page under the name of Socl.com mysteriously emerged. A short description on the site at the time noted that Socl would allow you to ‘Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever.”

At the time, many speculated that the effort — operating under the code name Tulalip and described as a design project from Microsoft Research — would be the software giant’s counter to Facebook and Google+.

Now, more details are emerging via the tech site The Verge, which reports that the social networking project of the FUSE research group will eventually see the light of day in a public test.

Reporter Thomas Houston gets an inside peek at the service, pointing out that Socl “has a big hill to climb” in order to compete with the likes of Facebook and Google+. Features include the ability to tag specific search terms so friends can comment, like or tag similar content and the ability to simultaneously watch online videos with friends (sounds a bit like Google+ Hangouts and Giant Thinkwell’s Flickmob).

Here’s more from Houston:

Ignoring for the moment that the interface looks a lot like that other social network, Socl offers a bare bones, three column layout, with basic navigation in the left rail, a social feed down the middle, and invites and video party options (more on that soon) on the right. As usual, you can follow other friends, but you won’t find any list-making tools. Core to the experience is the large search field at the top that asks, “What are you searching for?” effectively creating a new type of status update.

Public invites for Socl are about to be sent out soon, so let us know if you get one and whether Microsoft has a chance to compete in the field of social networking.

[Screen shot via The Verge].

Comments

  • Guest

    It is astounding how that company makes the same “late to the party” mistakes like these, over and over again.  Can their “research” group come up with an original idea just once?  If I was a shareholder, I’d be really upset.

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Microsoft on their Google+ killer! Honestly, I don’t know why anyone would Google when they could Bing and Socl.

    • Jeff

      Does anyone else think that these “Congratulations” posts are from a bot?

      • Guest

        I think he’s the anti-troll. Where they’re universally negative, he’s the polar opposite. It kind of balances out. They’re both background noise AFAIK.

      • Guest

        I think he’s the anti-troll. Where they’re universally negative, he’s the polar opposite. It kind of balances out. They’re both background noise AFAIK.

      • Guest

        I think he’s the anti-troll. Where they’re universally negative, he’s the polar opposite. It kind of balances out. They’re both background noise AFAIK.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of people that respect Microsoft’s brand, but outside of XBox related stuff I don’t see how Microsoft has the ability to create anything social. Google creating Google+ was a transparent ploy to attack Facebook and now Microsoft getting into this game years too late will be seen with disdain by many consumers. Everybody knows that big companies want into social networking to dominate the advertising industry but Facebook is too far ahead as the market stands right now. Furthermore the 3rd party market is really rallying around Facebook with dozens of companies listed at http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com exclusively focusing in on Facebook advertising services so I don’t see how it will be easy for Microsoft or even Google to catch up anytime soon. They’re in a tough spot if they try and compete in every single market because that spreads a company too thin and the result is Microsoft being behind in multiple strategic markets. Microsoft might best be served offering to integrate Bing with Facebook even further and work to combine their search expertise with Facebook’s social data even further to try and attack Google at its core. Facebook search has been woefully underdeveloped up until now and I don’t see where Microsoft can win throwing another product out there years too late and Balmer continuing to waste shareholders money on obviously futile efforts. Maybe I’m wrong, but this seems like a desperate move by Balmer thats years too late. Maybe they’ll surprise us with a great product, but I’m very skeptical.

  • Guest

    If this is meant to be a FB competitor then it’s a mistake. Why alienate FB when MS has no chance of supplanting them and that’s one partnership that’s working? No wonder the stock is getting hit on this. Stupid.

  • Guest

    Well why not? They’ve failed at just about everything else on the internet. Why not waste a few hundred million on this too?

  • Guest

    Well why not? They’ve failed at just about everything else on the internet. Why not waste a few hundred million on this too?

  • Anonymous

    how come people tend to always have something (negative) to say about microsoft.
    i seriously doubt this is targeted at the same audience as facebook and g+. it looks more like an aggregator of other social feeds.
    MS isnt as stupid as people make them out to be and i understand people will always resist a little sign of change or competition.

    • Guest

      If you look at what those people have to say, sledge, you’ll find that they have nothing to contribute. These negative people only want the status quo to remain as it is. In many cases it’s because their own jobs depend on a lack of progress. For an example, see this recent USPS commercial stating that paper mail is better than electronic communications: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oysFmSVzCnM

      What I don’t understand is, if such a negative man is proved right and Socl turns out to fail, what has the man won? What has his negativity given to improve our commentary ecosystem? 

      In conclusion, sledge, it is better to be an optimist and to ride a new trend up than it is to be a pessimist and to rain on every new product’s parade.

      • Anonymous

        i agree with you on that. Its just surprising that a lot of people would always say negative things. I love technology irrespective of who supplies it, but one thing i take seriously as well is the philosophy behind the companies and individuals that supply the tech.

        i’m not going to say g+ will fail just because i have a facebook account and neither will i say socl will fail because i think we have enough social media sites already.

        I believe in progress, innovation, competition, … and will never put anyones attempt to redefine something down.

      • Anonymous

        i agree with you on that. Its just surprising that a lot of people would always say negative things. I love technology irrespective of who supplies it, but one thing i take seriously as well is the philosophy behind the companies and individuals that supply the tech.

        i’m not going to say g+ will fail just because i have a facebook account and neither will i say socl will fail because i think we have enough social media sites already.

        I believe in progress, innovation, competition, … and will never put anyones attempt to redefine something down.

    • Guest

      If you look at what those people have to say, sledge, you’ll find that they have nothing to contribute. These negative people only want the status quo to remain as it is. In many cases it’s because their own jobs depend on a lack of progress. For an example, see this recent USPS commercial stating that paper mail is better than electronic communications: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oysFmSVzCnM

      What I don’t understand is, if such a negative man is proved right and Socl turns out to fail, what has the man won? What has his negativity given to improve our commentary ecosystem? 

      In conclusion, sledge, it is better to be an optimist and to ride a new trend up than it is to be a pessimist and to rain on every new product’s parade.

    • Guest

      Because a lot of people either don’t like MS or are frustrated with its inability to translate $9.5 billion in annual R&D into much of anything that consumers care about. The company isn’t blameless here, but I agree this attitude has become so entrenched even in mainstream media that it’s a huge barrier to overcome.

      On this particular one, I don’t know what MS’s plans are. It would be nice to assume it’s not another stupid, poorly thought out entry into a market dominated by others. But unfortunately there’s lots of precedent for them doing just that.

    • Guest

      Because a lot of people either don’t like MS or are frustrated with its inability to translate $9.5 billion in annual R&D into much of anything that consumers care about. The company isn’t blameless here, but I agree this attitude has become so entrenched even in mainstream media that it’s a huge barrier to overcome.

      On this particular one, I don’t know what MS’s plans are. It would be nice to assume it’s not another stupid, poorly thought out entry into a market dominated by others. But unfortunately there’s lots of precedent for them doing just that.

    • Guest

      Because a lot of people either don’t like MS or are frustrated with its inability to translate $9.5 billion in annual R&D into much of anything that consumers care about. The company isn’t blameless here, but I agree this attitude has become so entrenched even in mainstream media that it’s a huge barrier to overcome.

      On this particular one, I don’t know what MS’s plans are. It would be nice to assume it’s not another stupid, poorly thought out entry into a market dominated by others. But unfortunately there’s lots of precedent for them doing just that.

  • Anonymous

    how come people tend to always have something (negative) to say about microsoft.
    i seriously doubt this is targeted at the same audience as facebook and g+. it looks more like an aggregator of other social feeds.
    MS isnt as stupid as people make them out to be and i understand people will always resist a little sign of change or competition.

  • Arlington Albertson

    Interesting comments down here. I think what same fail to realize is that because this is coming from Microsoft, they actually stand a REALLY good chance of making it very successful. Look at how they’ve integrated barious other softwares (IE, Outlook, etc…) and the successes (good or bad) of those. Now think about how BIG MSN/Live Messenger is, combine that with social connectors to Skydrive, Outlook, integration with Windows 8, etc… They could VERY easily make this a big deal. 

    People need to wake up and not just say “oh another facebook, XX social network clone” and realize that just because MS has failed in the past on some endeavors doesn’t mean they always will. :) 

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a G+ & Google addict and have used Facebook for years, but knowing MS I’m pretty sure they’ll integrate this puppy REALLY well with pretty much everything. Including WP7 which of course will have this tightly integrated.

    Of course this is all assuming they actually follow through on this plan and make this happen, but I have a feeling they will. :)

  • Arlington Albertson

    Interesting comments down here. I think what same fail to realize is that because this is coming from Microsoft, they actually stand a REALLY good chance of making it very successful. Look at how they’ve integrated barious other softwares (IE, Outlook, etc…) and the successes (good or bad) of those. Now think about how BIG MSN/Live Messenger is, combine that with social connectors to Skydrive, Outlook, integration with Windows 8, etc… They could VERY easily make this a big deal. 

    People need to wake up and not just say “oh another facebook, XX social network clone” and realize that just because MS has failed in the past on some endeavors doesn’t mean they always will. :) 

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a G+ & Google addict and have used Facebook for years, but knowing MS I’m pretty sure they’ll integrate this puppy REALLY well with pretty much everything. Including WP7 which of course will have this tightly integrated.

    Of course this is all assuming they actually follow through on this plan and make this happen, but I have a feeling they will. :)

  • Arlington Albertson

    Interesting comments down here. I think what same fail to realize is that because this is coming from Microsoft, they actually stand a REALLY good chance of making it very successful. Look at how they’ve integrated barious other softwares (IE, Outlook, etc…) and the successes (good or bad) of those. Now think about how BIG MSN/Live Messenger is, combine that with social connectors to Skydrive, Outlook, integration with Windows 8, etc… They could VERY easily make this a big deal. 

    People need to wake up and not just say “oh another facebook, XX social network clone” and realize that just because MS has failed in the past on some endeavors doesn’t mean they always will. :) 

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a G+ & Google addict and have used Facebook for years, but knowing MS I’m pretty sure they’ll integrate this puppy REALLY well with pretty much everything. Including WP7 which of course will have this tightly integrated.

    Of course this is all assuming they actually follow through on this plan and make this happen, but I have a feeling they will. :)

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