Microsoft quietly launched So.cl, a new social network and search engine, on Sunday.
So.cl is a Frankenstein’s monster of social network success stories. If you mashed together Facebook’s profile interface, Pinterest’s image-heavy browsing experience, and Google Hangouts, you’d get a slightly less clunky and confusing version of So.cl.
Your So.cl experience begins when the service asks you to sign in to either your Facebook or Windows Live account so it can access your email to send you an invitation. (If you don’t have either, you’re out of luck.)
It’s a roundabout way to bring in new users. And also one that doesn’t seem to be working. We’ve been waiting nearly two hours already and still haven’t received our invitaiton.
We know a few things from the company’s introductory video, however. Users who actually do get that email invitation can use So.cl for three primary activities.
First, it functions as a visual, social search engine. You can share your search results with friends by pinning them onto your profile. Additionally, you can have a “video party”—a group chat with a seemingly unrelated video-sharing interface.
Of course, this is assuming you fit the So.cl demographic. According to the So.cl introduction video, this site is “a new research experience for students.” That must be referring to older students, however—in order to sign up for a So.cl invitation, users must verify that they are 18 or older. (Meanwhile, Facebook users need only be 13 or older.)
While we may not be bright enough to figure out the pronunciation of this vowel-challenged name (Social? SoCal? Sockle?), it doesn’t take a genius to realize this search engine/social network is tailor made to compete with the failing Google+.
Perhaps this is one battle against the search engine giant Microsoft will win.
Photo via So.cl