Microsoft has opened its social networking site Socl to the general public, whereas before only a small subset of individuals had access as testers. The network is still in beta, however, so users need to keep that in mind when using it. The Socl social project was first launched back in December of 2011, where users had to receive an invitation to use it.
Socl is the by-product of Microsoft’s FuSE (Future Social Experiences) Labs, which has stated that Socl as it exists now is not how it originally existed, with the interface being altered to accommodate the way users were using it. Said FUSE’s General Manager Lili Cheng: “The way people were using Socl was different than we designed it.”
Users can sign in with either their Facebook account or their Microsoft account, depending on which social sphere one hangs out in most. It’s a bit odd to get the hang of when first using it, something more than a few users have expressed. After logging in with my Facebook account, I searched for “cats” and received two columns of results, with the left column being titled “Picasso” and full of Picasso images, and the right side being full of pictures of the grumpy cat. The Picasso results didn’t include anything cat-related, so I’m not sure why that turned up as one of the results.
Clicking an image then takes you to the URL where the photo is located; it might be an article, a blog, or a desktop background website, for example. Overall, Socl feels like some strange combination of Reddit, Pintrest, and Facebook all mashed up in a quasi-search engine. There’s no word yet one when Microsoft might push the social site into the mainstream; for now, it remains a project that is, apparently, broadening its horizons.