Microsoft Socl opens to all, the social network where search queries = status updates
Microsoft on Monday opened its experimental social search service called So.cl, which lets users socially broadcast their search queries and attached results. Socl is the product of Microsoft's Fuse labs, and has been open to limited user groups at the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University, for the last five months.
Unlike the recent revamp of Bing, which integrates a user's social graph into their search base, Socl is something entirely different. The new service combines the "social broadcasting" aspect of Twitter and applies it to search queries and research.
Imagine Twitter's 140 character field was a search field. When you type in a new query, it becomes the main heading of the "tweet." Then, when the results are returned, you can pick the ones that best apply to the heading and attach them. Then, you can add contextual tags, and other users can comment or "like" your search, or start "riffs," which are sub-conversations which may be tangentially linked to your original search or post.
Posts on Socl don't necessarily have to originate with searches, and the service includes the ability to have traditional social media style pure text updates.
Though the service was designed with college research in mind, it can really be used in any way the user likes, and users can simply post and tag images, videos, and links as they would on any other social site. Design-wise, Socl seems to have taken a big cue from Google+, especially in the upper right hand corner notification menu, the dropdown menu in the upper right hand corner of each post, and with its inclusion of "video parties."