All the rage these days is around Google and their "+" network, which many are laughing off and just as many others are hailing as the next big thing. Microsoft obviously has a great ride going with Facebook but there is something still missing from the equation perhaps, something related to Bing, searching, sharing information and more.

The website Fusible learned that Microsoft has purchased the domain http://www.socl.com/ and today a teaser page had gone up with a new service called 'Tulalip'--the very image you see above. What is clear is that Microsoft is definitely working on something social related as that image touts the message “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever” with logins for Twitter and Facebook (good news for those who don't want a new account). The design is clearly Metro-inspired, looking very much like the Live Tiles in Windows Phone.

Of course, the page is no longer up and instead we have a message from Microsoft Research stating:

“Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest,”

While that could be plausible, we think this is something closer to launch than just an internal design project. The "Terms of Service" and "Privacy Statement" suggest that this wasn't just meant for internal purposes. The big question of course is what exactly does it do? For that, we'll have to wait. Of course if it is an official project, will we see integration with "Mango" come fall?

Update: Read Mary Jo Foley's excellent write up this morning on her thoughts about Tulalip (including its name)

Source: Fusible; via VentureBeat