Microsoft's social networking site So.cl now open to all
Project still targeted at students
TechLife | 21 May 2012 :
So.cl, an experimental research project from Microsoft, that combines social networking and search to promote learning, is now accepting all users interested in joining the site.
The social networking site, pronounced "social," is however not positioned to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools, and uses a minimal set of features, Microsoft said on the So.cl website.
Concentrating its efforts on the education sector will differentiate So.cl from Facebook, as will the ability to sign up usinal a Facebook account.
The key is whether colleges will adopt So.cl as a platform for students to share their thoughts on their college experience. As with all social networks, success depends on where people's friends are. For the moment, that's still Facebook.
The company expects students will continue to use current social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and search tools such as Bing and Google.
Microsoft said So.cl helps users find and share web pages of Interest as students do when they work together.
Besides providing sharing of media including real-time sharing of videos through "video parties", So.cl also helps users create "rich posts," by assembling montages of visual Web content.
Launched as a partnership between the FUSE Labs in Microsoft Research and selected schools, including University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University, So.cl is still positioned as a research project that aims to learn more about social search.
FUSE Labs' So.cl project is shifting away from an invite-only model to accept all users interested in joining the site, said a Microsoft spokeswoman. "So.cl is an experimental research project focused on the future of social experiences and learning, especially among younger people," she added.
So.cl uses Bing for search data via the public API (application programming interface), but is not a Bing product,according to the FAQ on the So.cl website.
It uses Facebook authentication, but by default does not post any content from So.cl into the user's Facebook stream. Unless marked as private, search results, and any other data posted to So.cl can be viewed by all other So.cl users. Data that was publicly posted on So.cl will be broadly available for use by other entities and individuals.
Public data enables new types of research and experimentation, which Microsoft says is a primary goal for So.cl.
IDG News Service