So.cl, a new Social Network launched by Microsoft

Photo from so.cl

In the social network world that we live in today, it is nearly impossible to not use one throughout the day to connect with friends and family members. Microsoft has come to realize this, and has been creating their own social network called “So.cl”. They have decided to take an approach that is geared more towards students to help differentiate themselves from the other big competitors such as Facebook and Google+. But, let’s face it, they are still going to have to compete with them whether they like it or not. Microsoft has been working on “So.cl” for over a year now, and has finally decided that it was time to reveal it to the public. Until now, they have kept it pretty unknown to the general public.

What Makes So.cl Different?

One of the first hurdles that the new social network faced in their development stages was how to make it stand out from the other social networks. This is a task that is not easily accomplished, considering how much ground the other networks cover. Microsoft intends to keep their network geared towards the students, and compares it to being a collaborative project where students can work together to achieve common goals and find information. They also look to combine their search with their social network, somewhat similar to what Google+ has done with theirs. One of the nicest benefits of So.cl is that you can quickly navigate to the research areas that you need, you won’t have to waste much time looking around. This time is precious when you are a student that is trying to finish a project before finals.

Users will be able to login with their Facebook or Windows Live accounts. Once you are logged in, you will notice that you are shown a plethora of information. This will help you on your way to finding what it is you are looking for. Not only that, but non-students can sign up for an account as well as students. “So.cl is an experimental research project focused on the future of social experiences and learning, especially among younger people.” That is what a Microsoft representative told someone from CNET. It appears that Microsoft is trying extremely hard to come in at a different angle than Google+ did when competing with Facebook. That is going to be hard, and every website even close to a social network is going to have to compete with Facebook whether they like it or not.

The Main Features of So.cl

You are going to notice that they have bookmark buttons attached to So.cl, much like they have recommend and share buttons attached with Facebook. Users will be able to share or recommend content to their friends or family that also use their social network. This can be extremely helpful when you are in a group study environment and would like everyone to see what you are seeing. Don’t be alarmed if you are not a student though, you will still find many features that you can use to your advantage as well. To help them stand out from the Google+ search addition to the Google+ social network, they have created something that they are calling “montages of visual web content”. They are trying to present the content that users would search for in a different way, and make it extremely relevant information that is shown on the results.

What Does It All Mean?

There is no easy way to break into the social network industry, and many have tried and failed in the past. Google+ seems to be sticking around, but is nowhere near their rivals Facebook or Twitter, but time could begin to reverse that. When it comes down to it, if you have something to offer users, they will give it a chance. Everyone likes to be one of the first people to sign up on the next big thing, which could prove to be invaluable to Microsoft and their social network. As long as they can deliver an excellent user experience, the community is already there thanks to their wonderful products over the years. Only time is going to be able to tell whether or not this social network is going to be able to become one of the pillars of their industry.

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