Today Microsoft has announced So.cl (pronounced Social,) an “experimental research project” geared towards students. This project is currently active for a group of selected schools, users outside of these schools join a waiting list. The active schools are University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University.
So.cl offers a few different benefits for students including the ability to combine of social networking and search to help find interesting content. This is not an extension of Bing, rather so.cl has been created by the FUSE Labs portion of Microsoft. To see the search functionality live see the video on so.cl.
Users can also create rich posts by assembling various web content. This is similar to Pintrest but adds additional search features:
So.cl also lets user share rich media including real-time sharing in “video parties.” Like a Google+ hangout users can invite others into video chats to converse and interact.
So was So.cl invented to compete with Facebook/Google+/Twitter? Here’s an answer from Microsoft:
We expect students to continue using products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other existing social networks, as well as Bing, Google and other search tools. We hope to encourage students to reimagine how our everyday communication and learning tools can be improved, by researching, learning and sharing in their everyday lives.
For an invite to the new research project for students, head over to So.cl and sign up using your Facebook account.