Today morning while going through my inbox, I checked that I have an invite from Fuse Labs to join so.cl, Microsoft’s new social networking site. Fuse Labs is research Labs which works in partnership with product and research teams to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work.
After the grand success of Facebook , all major internet giants diving themselves more towards social networks. Recently Google came up with its Google+ and now Microsoft joined the league with its so.cl (Pronounced as social). I too wanted to play around with SO.CL so in no time, I accepted the invite.
The invite landed me to the home page, It was very much interesting, I personally somewhat liked the homepage and wanted to dig-in to know more how social is inside.
So.cl not really looked social to me, at its first look. The only way to log in to so.cl was using the Facebook id, there was no other open ids, we could use. No Twitter, no Google nothing else except Facebook. Microsoft no doubt have some soft corner for Facebook, so this was not a surprise. But again as so.cl is in invite only stage possible that the team might add more open id’s later. So.cl is definitely not complicating things and is very simple, a plus from me.
Lets see What so.cl team have to say about this ?
So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools. It is an experimental research project using a minimal set of features which help combine search with the social network for the purpose of learning.
Okay to some extent I believe them, lets wait to see where this experimental project leads to :-), Is it something which is gonna conquer the internet in near future ?
Looks like the war has begun to rule the internet.
Currently so.cl is in invite only stage and not public yet, following the footsteps of Google. To log in to so.cl two things are mandatory, an invite and a Facebook id. Without both these you can only enjoy the login page.
As I logged in, the interface looked familiar. It was the merger of twitter, Google reader and Facebook etc. It was allowing the user to follow and get followed by other users, conceptually similar to twitter. The feeds from the users followed by you will be visible to you incase they are public or if it is shared to you privately. Quite similar to Google+ and Google reader, Facebook also is doing it in similar manner. Notification are available with the count at the right hand corner again similar to Google+. But definitely there was something different apart from all this similarities.
Unlike other social networks, SO.CL says “What are you searching for ?” , you can search in the search box and share the rich contents of the search instantly. You can search for images and so.cl will collage it in a very nice beautiful manner and you can share it to your network or public. This was a unique thing I found and was quite impressed with the same. Sharing pictures, searches, videos looks like the forte of so.cl. It is all about searching and sharing. Whatever you search can be selectively added to your sharing. Wow loved it. All the searches are powered by Bing engine, no other engines can be selected :-(.
Again if you don’t want to search and share, so.cl also encourages you to share “Whats in your mind ?” similar to Facebook.
Video Parties is one unique feature in so.cl, slightly influenced from Google+ Hangout, but its about video sharing and not video chat. So.cl extends this concept by making it easy to share video parties, with So.cl friends who are online. Video parties let you search, and quickly assemble a list of movies to view together with friends. You can view any existing party collection created by any other So.cl user, or create your own, and easily chat with other So.cl users. Watching videos together is more fun, than watching them alone. Like video parties, wished if there was Music party too.
So.cl also allows you to Tag, comment and Like the posts of your so.cl network. So.cl like button is a cute “verticle” smiley lolz.
Making the posts private & public is very convenient and handled very well by the so.cl team, its just need a single click. Feeds and Activities can be filtered in a very well organized manner. Activities are sub categorized to filter as “Everything”, “status”, “searches” and “parties”. Similarly Feeds are filtered against “Everyone”, “People I follow”, “My conversations” & “Me”. This is again something I personally liked. ,But would wish to have my personalized filter too, something like feeds from my personal list of friends. Lists and groups are definitely an important feature missing here for me. May be SO.CL don’t want social discrimination :-).
But whatever it is, what makes SO.CL different from its peers is its simplicity. Even the settings are minimum, the team have worked really hard to make it simple, great work. Even your profile doesn’t carry much complexity, it only includes your picture imported from FB.
My overall experience with SO.CL was good, I think I will login again.
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