updated 04:10 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2011
Experiment integrates social networking & search
Microsoft has gone public with details on its So.cl network service. The "research experiment" is an attempt to help people learn informally from their friends and colleagues by integrating more closely Internet search and social networking. Microsoft has been beta testing the project with about 150 students, but is planning on inviting up to 1,000 more students and academics to participate.
So.cl (pronounced "social") has some elements similar to Facebook and Twitter, but goes beyond these social networking vehicles by allowing users to use Microsoft's Bing to search for images and links, organize them, and then post them by clicking on them. So.cl also offers a "video party" function that letting users remotely watch a video together and chat about it a panel residing next to the video.
Microsoft classifies the project an just an experiment, with no immediate plans to release it as a commercial product. It is being run out of the company's FUSE Labs, whose charter is to "give users new ways to create, connect and collaborate with the people, information and ideas that matter to them."
The 150 current beta participants were recruited from IT and design schools at the University of Washington, Syracuse University and NYU. The next group of 1,000 participants also will be by invitation only. [ GeekWire]