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More Details on Socl, Microsoft's Social Discovery Platform

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Details on Microsoft Socl are surfacing. The site will be a content discovery platform with strong social elements and partial integration with Facebook. It is currently in private testing but is nearing an invite-only beta.

Socl has been the subject of speculation for months, especially since what was either an accidental launch or intentional leak of a previous version of the site, then known as Tulalip. Now, thanks to a preview given to The Verge, we can take a look at some of the actual features.

The design follows the same clean, three-columned look we've come to expect from social networks. As has become standard, the large center column will contain a stream of content from your friends or people you "follow."

The site itself combines search, content discovery, and social functionalities. The main offering of the site is a twist on the standard status update; users can now enter queries into the "What are you searching for?" field, getting a response from the Bing platform and sharing that content with friends.

You can also enter more typical status updates, add tags, and even interact with friends through video chat parties (in a manner similar to that introduced with Google +Hangouts). However, it doesn't seem that Socl will be attempting to compete with Google+ or Facebook directly. Users will be able to log into Socl using their Facebook account, and there will be at least some degree of cross-integration between the two services.

While there are clearly social elements to the platform, the ability to reply to people, send direct messages, create groups of users, or establish social network pages are not currently a part of the Socl experience. This project is still in the early phases, however, and is likely to see significant changes as testing continues.

The Verge also reminds us that "it's possible that it won't ever get released as a mainstream product." However, Microsoft has indicated an interest in doing at least some public testing. According to The Verge, Microsoft "is nearing the end of its private testing period and will roll this out to a bigger public audience through an invite system."

Are you excited to try Socl out? Do you think posting search directly to a social platform is a great idea or an empty one? And is Microsoft too late to the game to make a dent here? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Image courtesy of The Verge 

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