Microsoft has made available its So.cl, a social networking service to the general public, thereby allowing common people to share and comment on interesting search results and link with common-minded people who share similar views.
So.cl, developed by Microsoft’s Fuse Labs unit in Redmond, Washington, US had in the past been available only to invitees at universities and schools in the US.
Microsoft has integrated the service with Facebook and has also termed the move as an experiment rather than a competition to other networks.
The company has also stated that the product has been developed as a research project, targeted on the future of social experiences and learning.
Using Microsoft’s Bing search engine technology and external links, people can create “collages of content” which can again be shared with others.
After creating “collages of content”, users can then recognize people who share interest in the same topics, monitor their associates’ feeds and participate in “video parties” during which members watch online videos together, commenting on them through chat function.
Members can sign into So.cl, using their Facebook login details. The activities done in So.cl will however not be reflected in Facebook’s pages till the option is activated.
The move to make available the service to the common people has been taken over the weekend with little fanfare.
According to speculations made by analysts, Microsoft had only limited ambitions for the project. So.cl mainly targeted at students is also considered by many analysts as a Facebook clone.
According to Microsoft, So.cl is an experiment designed to be a layer on existing social networks.
The present move is expected to help Microsoft further improve Bing’s search capabilities.
The surveys in the past had shown that Microsoft had a 15.4 percent share of the US search market in April in comparison to Google’s 66.5 percent lead, while the gap is even higher in UK and other parts of Europe.