So.cl

Stumbling upon the news that Microsoft has ventured into the world of social networking is guaranteed to leave a bad taste in your mouth. Not that I have anything against Microsoft, or Bing, I actually love the new Bing layout. It’s just that Microsoft feels intrinsically uncool, it’s like the dorky dad of the Internet.

Based on looks alone, so.cl is quite obviously Microsoft branded, with the distinctive square stock photographs with thick white borders. And how exactly are we pronouncing So.cl? I refuse to pronounce it as ‘social’ until I see a few more vowels in there.

Rant aside, here’s the scoop on so.cl

So.cl isn’t strictly a social network, it’s been described as the Frankenstein’s monster of the social networking world. Microsoft have taken the most successful aspects of each social network and mashed them up to create one sharing/ discovery tool which revolves around Bing search. You can ‘Pin’ like you’re on Pinterest, ‘Like’ like you’re on Facebook, ‘hangout’ like you’re on Google+ and Tweet like you’re on Twitter.

The question is, does anyone really have enough time to add yet another social network to their already hectic schedule?

The answer to this: Microsoft isn’t really asking you to. According to the promotional video, which I found deeply confusing until the end, So.cl is a student research tool, and it’s still in the early stages of development. It’s more likely an attempt to compete with Facebook’s file sharing for groups, which is ideal for academic project work. I can already see the benefits of being able to collaborate on project work with a tool such as so.cl.

With the Facebook IPO still fresh in our minds, only time will tell if any newcomer to the social networking scene can knock the top three off their spots. Do we want to combine our social networking, or are we happier to segment our online activities?

Top Tip: According to PC World, if you want to avoid the queue’s and jump straight in, make sure you connect with you Window’s Live ID rather than your Facebook account.