Remember those reports about about a Microsoft domain at Socl.com carrying a landing page with the name Tulalip? It said, “With Tulalip you can find what you need and Share what you know." It showed Facebook and Twitter sign in options.
It’s OK if you don’t. I had pretty much forgotten about it myself, and I covered it. It’s been pretty well out of the spotlight since very soon after it was in it.
Initially, very little was known about it, and officially, that’s still the case, but The Verge (hat tip to Matt McGee) has posted an exclusive look “inside the company’s secret social network.” Apparently it’s not Tulalip anymore. Just Socl. They give a run down of the design and functionality, both of which seem to borrow a fair amount from existing social networks (which is to be expected). They also have a gallery of screenshots. Here’s one of them:
One particularly interesting part of the The Verge’s description is one that describes the “video party,” which reportedly includes chat and the ability to watch YouTube videos together. This sounds exactly like Google+ Hangouts.
In some ways, Facebook is already Microsoft’s answer to Google+. Bing and Facebook have a nice little relationship going on. In fact, Google+ is really Google’s answer to that, but it appears that Microsoft doesn’t want to have to solely rely on Facebook as its access to people’s social behavior. That could backfire in the long run.
There’s really no mention of Bing in the description of Socl, beyond when you search from it, it gives you Bing results, but I have to wonder how much more this will play into Bing. Microsoft may be able to harness its Windows, Internet Explorer and Xbox brands in some ways to really make this a relevant offering. They could utilize Skype, for that matter.
Obviously it’s very early right now, and we just don’t know what Microsoft is up to exactly. This will, however, be an intriguing storyline to keep an eye on. It could turn out to be a delicate balance for Microsoft to develop its own social network and maintain a positive relationship with the reigning king of social networks.