The tech industry has been waiting for Microsoft’s So.cl to launch, after being various nuggets were leaked over the past several months. Much speculation has been going around about it (including from us).
Previously leaked screenshots made it seem like Microsoft was working on a Facebook/Google+ competitor. Frankly, that’s just what it looked like.
Image credit: The Verge
Now, it’s been officially announced by the company, which describes it as, “a site designed to give students the ability to network with peers, share useful information quickly, and build their own pages that collect information from both inside and outside the classroom—in a sense, transforming the web and social networks into the new classroom.”
While there’s nothing wrong with this concept, the whole thing is a little underwhelming for those of us who might have expected Microsoft to be launching a full-on social network player. Though in reality, Microsoft has a pretty good thing going on with Facebook right now (and not a bad thing with Twitter either for that matter), and it probably doesn’t really need a Facebook clone.
What Microsoft does have is a strong player in the bigger picture with its Xbox platform, which is now becoming much more powerful as an overall entertainment hub and gateway to online applications.
But back to So.cl (pronounced “social”).
“So.cl has been designed for students studying social media to extend their educational experience and rethink how they learn and communicate,” says Microsoft’s Douglas Gantenbein. “They can build posts with many elements—photos, video, text, and more—and share them with colleagues. They also can find students with similar interests and build communities around specific educational goals. So.cl might even give students the ability to create their own social tool, customized for their own community.”
You actually use Facebook to login to So.cl, but for now, when you do so, you’re just added to a waiting list. Microsoft says it will email you an invitation soon.