After hinting at its "so. cl" social network since last December, and testing the service privately with students and researchers at a few universities, Microsoft quietly opened its `so. cl' site to the public over the weekend.
"So. cl" - which is pronounced as `social' - has been described by Microsoft as a site that deeply integrates Internet search into a social learning experience. The site essentially allows users to quickly share their search results with others on the social network, by adding them to a post with a mere click on the results or pictures.
Since So. cl is chiefly an experiment in open search, the searches of the users on So. cl can be viewed by other users on the site, with the information also to be available to third parties.
Going by the details shared by Microsoft, So. cl basically combines social networking and search in such a way that users can find and share interesting web pages, similar to the sharing of information by the students when they work together.
In addition, So. cl helps users create rich posts, by assembling montages of visual web content; and also encourages interaction and collaboration by providing rich media sharing, as well as real time sharing of videos via "video parties."
According to the details about So. cl mentioned on the social network's own website, the service is "an experimental research project, developed by Microsoft's FUSE Labs, focused on exploring the possibilities of social search for the purpose of learning."