Launched back in May amidst very little fanfare, so.cl (pronounced "social") was initially offered only to students and billed as an experiment in learning.
Redmond has recanted those restrictions, today telling world+dog they’re free to pile in and enjoy the fun, as so.cl is now "a service where people connect over shared interests."
So.cl is rather unlike other social networks inasmuch as a post starts with a search. The results of that search can then be assembled into a post that brings together the user’s desired elements.
Many users post just a single image. Others take a more curatorial approach, collecting several images related to the same topic in a fashion not entirely unlike creating a Pinterest collection.
Redmond’s not building a walled garden, as Facebook is a permitted login mechanism and so.cl’s About page states it is not in competition with other social networks.
Socl — pronounced social — allows you to express and share your ideas through rich post collages comprised of images, links, captions and videos.
"Socl is a research project from Microsoft Research FUSE Labs and began as an experiment in social search targeted at students for the purpose of learning. Following the lead of the Socl community, Socl has since evolved to be a service where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful posts that take only seconds to create", says Microsoft.Whether Redmond will be still be saying that if, or when, it embeds a so.cl tile in the default Windows 8 start screen remains to be seen.