Microsoft opens its ‘’ social network beta to general public

After having launched its social networking site `So. cl' to a few individuals for testing in May, software giant Microsoft announced on Tuesday that `So. cl' had now been opened to the general public.

Though So. cl - which is an offshoot of Microsoft's FuSE (Future Social Experiences) Labs, and is essentially the company's "experiment in open search" - has been opened to the public with some additional new features, users should bear in mind the fact that the network is still in beta.

With the newly-released So. cl social network beta underscoring some changes - including an altered interface - over the original limited release, Lili Cheng - General Manager of FUSE - said that the alterations have been made to the site because the use of So. cl by the site's testers was "different than we designed it."

Meanwhile, So. cl is quite unlike the other social networking sites in the sense that the So. cl posts begin with a search; with the results of the search to be then accumulated into a post which brings together the user's preferred elements. The `sign in' to the site is possible either via the users' Facebook account or their Microsoft account.

Terming So. cl as an "experimental research project," Microsoft said that its fledgling social network has "a minimal set of features that combine social networking and search for the purpose of enabling people to express and share ideas through rich visual collages, organized by interests."