Inside look reveals new details on Microsoft’s secret “Socl” social network

By Tom Warren, on 15th Nov 11 11:01 pm with 51 Comments

Microsoft's new Socl social network

Microsoft has been readying its own answer to Facebook and Google+ over the past months.

The software giant accidentally released an internal test version of its “Tulalip” social search service earlier this year. Details of the service were hosted at socl.com, owned and managed by Microsoft. The service included a teaser promising a new “social search” service by Microsoft. The service also appeared to allow Facebook and Twitter users to sign-in. “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever”, read a message on the home page.

Microsoft confirmed at the time that Socl.com was an “internal design project from one of Microsoft’s research teams which was mistakenly published to the web.” It appears that the project was more than just a design one however. The Verge got an exclusive hands on look at socl.com on Tuesday. The site is currently under private beta testing and is expected to go into a wider public test at some point in the future.

Socl.com offers a three column layout and similar layout to Facebook. Search functionality on the site is integrated with Microsoft’s Bing decision engine. The Verge reveals that Socl focuses heavily on the idea of tagging items or topics that a user is interested in. Socl users can simply tag a particular interest and have social updates based on that item. How this works in the real world remains to be seen. Another feature of Socl is the ability to video party, similar to Google’s hangouts feature. Video party is built mostly on HTML5 and includes the ability to chat and view YouTube clips together with friends.

Microsoft is building a large amount of “social search” into Socl. The result is the company hopes that friends will interact more with each other based on sharing search queries in a more social way. The idea could allow friends to assist with a particular search that Bing is unable to pinpoint accurately.

It’s not yet clear when Socl will be made available to the public but it’s unlikely to be a project that Microsoft is heavily investing time and money into. The software maker has a close relationship with Facebook and generally uses research projects as a way to test and incubate new ideas to be rolled into Bing.

Microsoft Socl

Image Credits: The Verge

  • Anonymous

    wtf? looks kinda facebook in metro style

    • Jinge

      Not too far to people not to be lost, but much more clear, so people don’t get bored looking for a feature (like lists mgt!!!).
      I would like an horizontal content scroll, but i am not sure browsers are good for that…

      Ms should do for bing and other software the same thing that they did for WP8: A feature request/suggest blog

    • Anonymous

      I agree with that request/suggest blog thing. But I don’t think a facebook news feed should benefit from a horizontal approach.

  • http://twitter.com/Flashmusik Tim Mariner

    While many of us are eager to move to a new social networking platform and dump Facebook, this doesn’t appear to be the answer.

    • http://twitter.com/hammeredpizza Louis Sandiford

      I don’t think enough people actually are eager to leave Facebook – and that’s why every new social networking site (for the forseeable future) will not be able to gain any traction.

      A social network is only any good if all your friends are on it. Facebook already has all your friends (1/3 of the world’s population?), so why would you move to dead space (Google+)?

    • Guest

      Diaspora is. Even G+ has taken ideas & some of the User Interface from it (but Diaspora’s is better because Google doesn’t understand design).

  • OctalMan

    So does this mean Windows live will be killed?

    Im pretty sure this is just an internal project

    • Anonymous

      I hope so, Windows Live needs a Metro UI update

  • Daniel Cassidy

    I’m interested to see what Microsoft does with this. They are very close with Facebook and have made so many of their products integrate with it, it’ll be cool to see where this goes

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft, you don’t need to have an answer to EVERYTHING out there –’

    This is so wrong.

    • Anonymous

       Do you love trolling Microsoft?

    • Anonymous

      Says one of the biggest wish wash posters on the site.  You troll as well here and there do you not?

    • Anonymous

      Dude, I’m a fanboy. I’m just realistic. When they do sth. that’s not right IMO, I have the right to say that. Too bad that bothers you, but I don’t really care much.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Sebastian-Swann/100001887920756 Sebastian Swann

      We really don’t need another Social Network. I checked G+ one day, on the second i wasn’t there anymore. I don’t care. I’m on FB, Twitter, Linkedin plus around 6 forums and I’m really tired of this. I don’t need to follow another one.

    • phil jay

      There is Windows Live, this socl is just research and will be integrated with Live, which has been out for longer than fb and most others. Its not *another* social network, it integrates with them

    • Guest

      Live had Spaces which MS just killed and moved to WordPress about a year ago. As for socl, I don’t see MS doing NIH ripoffs like Google recently. So if anything it will *integrate* with Facebook and others (Live already does) – not try to “kill” it.

    • Peeonawire

      you don’t have to dipshit it’s your choice

    • Michael

      Im going to give it a try..Myfacezone.com

    • Anonymous

      What the shit? Crappy site, crappy language, crappy implementation of a LinkedIn clone… ________________________________

    • PEEONAWIRE

      NO matter how much everyone like’s the normal sites we use to communicate, we are just on the verge of great break-out social technology on the web. We have had only a couple of sites, created and used by most. The new site’s to come from any carrier will knockout Facebook, if Facebook doesn’t re-establish the whole site. These social sites are just to begin… as a car transformed over the years so will the social networks. And as A car they will build over time. PROGRESSING

    • Peeonawire

      SO roll with the new tech as it comes out, or be stubborn and have no social interact.

  • Anonymous

    Microsoft is not going to fight Facebook in this segment. Facebook has already won the social network market.  This is probably a service that works with Facebook/Twitter.

    • http://twitter.com/kid_jenius Daniel Paulino

      that’s exactly what i was thinking. something that integrates fb, twitter and bing all together. something like google reader in the sense that it consolidates a bunch of info from the web, but this time it’s through search and social networks and then presents them to you

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, if Microsoft doesn’t create this parts of it will end up in Facebook and Bing.

    • Guest

      Nobody ever wins. It’s temporary. Read The Innovator’s Dilemma.

  • Anonymous

    This is the clean sort of layout that Facebook should have but I think yet another social networking site is unnecessary

  • Anonymous

    Agreed with OctalMan; there’s no reason for MS to compete with Facebook. Socl is most likely just a research project, but that’s not to say that none of this will be integrated with Facebook….

  • blackletter

    Microsoft already integrates Facebook and Twitter into its Windows Phone platform, and this integration is beautiful. No need for Microsoft to allocate further time and resources into developing a competing social networking platform. Instead, Microsoft should terminate Socl and redirect Socl venture capital into MARKETING Windows Phone 7. Common Microsoft, you don’t have to be the leader of EVERYTHING.

    • Anonymous

       It’s just a research project, of course they have no illusions that they can compete with Facebook.

  • Adidasmn6

    This is similar to pinterest.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if this is a social networking hub that integrates Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Google+ into one UI.

    • Siddarth Malhotra

      And if it’s in metro…I’m sold!

  • Joyette Scantlebury

    I may be wrong but i think that is more of a search engine for the social graph. I believe is a search engine that gives you updates for what you tag. If I am not wrong, they maybe doing something that Google wanted to do, data mine Facebook & Twitter.

  • Anonymous

    What was wrong with Live. Seems to me the best social network MS has is XBOX Live.

  • http://twitter.com/Paul_IRL1 Paul Hill

    This will become a proper microsoft product, mark my words.

  • http://www.about.me/AngeloGopaul Eingoluq

    hehe clever name!

  • Anonymous

    I highly doubt this is a separate Social Network altogether,

    pretty sure it’s a code name for Facebook + Microsoft’s METRO UI …

    looks Amazing … imagine this METRO UI on the existing Facebook Platform ! :D

  • Seth_p

    So, if I’m looking up “something” - it’s going to have that as a headline story? My poor mother!

    I could see Socl being a ”social hub” to consolidate Twitter, Google+ (??), Windows Live, and Facebook. Maybe other social services since we know Windows Live already has the backend hooks, just a matter of presenting it in an elegant and captivating way. That’d actually be very useful… ONE stop shop!

    If it’s just a project, then that’s too bad. If it’s actually a whole new entity, then good luck! I highly doubt the latter though… it just doesn’t make sense for Microsoft.

  • Anonymous

    with google+ going nowhere, I see no reason why another social network is needed.

    • OctalMan

      lol

  • Jean-Philippe Delisle

    I think that the site exist only to test the underneath engine. Instead of testing them directly on Facebook or Twitter. The other possibility is a kind of meta social network, like the feature the you see in the Live Service, where you can connect Facebook, Linked, etc directly in hotmail or Messenger. In the end, who knows.

  • Anonymous

    Live failed could of been what is Facebook today but this looks like its going towards a different direction. I am interested in how it all plays out.

  • Guest

    wtf.. here we go again. Like if all we needed was yet another social network. 

  • Anoni

    AS far as I remember from reading the socl project notes that the entire project wasn’t anything like Facebook, Tweeter or Google+ it was supposed to accomplish something entirely different, supposedly harnessing the internet by utilizing power of social network, also something like a school networks. It was all very vague and abstract, also I can’t find those leaked docs either.

    My take is, I really don’t mind another Social Network but I don’t want another Facbook or Tweeter, I would want to see a social network that has a completely different purpose than Facebook yet very useful and works unlike Google+.

  • lol

    I’m a Microsoft fan but I think this is just a waste of time. Buy a big share of Facebook, thats all they need to do.

  • http://twitter.com/joepann Kitab

    2 many social network. 1 more 2 many.

  • Jamal Msi

    Everything has become a tradition, we want new things, we do not want tradition.Even if its new ideas, but basically the idea Costume!

  • Anonymous

    More social networks = hell for web development and maintenance.

  • Aethec

    “socl” is a bad name since no one will understand it outside English-speaking countries.

  • Guest

    If it’s integration of other social services, no problem. If it’s competing against someone like FB, then it’s just stupid. FB rules and this will only alienate the relationship, which MS needs for Bing. Also “Socl”? Seriously? Please come up with a better name.

  • Michael

    ***Myfacezone.com***-