Microsoft So.Cl – Not a Facebook Rival

Officially launched this week, new social network “So.Cl” is the creation of the Microsoft Research FUSElabs – that accidentally went online a few months ago. More like Pinterest than Facebook, and aimed predominantly at a student market, So.Cl is a site aimed around sharing web-based visually stimulating content within general interest categories – like movies, sports and cars. In FUSElabs words, it is “focused on exploring the possibilities of social search for the purpose of learning”. isn’t a platform to connect personally with friends and family, but rather to connect with others around topics you like. Questions and comments revolve around these collages of content, promoting the use of the Bing search engine to find and share the content. The So.Cl search experience is powered by Microsoft’s Bing, using the public Bing API’s to display search result data.

Some features within So.Cl include a Video Party – users are encouraged to “Start a Video Party”on any topic and chat with friends. All So.Cl data is public, unless you mark it as private. Search results, and any other data you post may be viewed by all other users.

FUSElabs are formally partnering with select tertiary education institutions across the United States of America (including University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University). However, it is open to the public as well.

To join, all you need is a Facebook or Windows LIVE account. Once you get passed “Thank you for joining the So.Cl waiting list. We will send you an invitation soon”, you’ll be met with a short tutorial on what to do and where, how to grow your feed and you’re encouraged to invite your Facebook friends to join as the current pool of users is small.


While this experiment in open search is still in its infancy and isn’t set to reveal its number of users just yet, here’s a look at the social network landscape globally:

More to come on potential business uses as the platform develops. NOTE: Microsoft South Africa is a client of Fleishman Hillard South Africa, however, the research and insight contained in this blog is objective.