Microsoft updates their social network, So.cl – a few of us notice

If you have never heard of Microsoft’s social network, So.cl, we aren’t surprised. The service launched back in December 2011 and was a private beta for students of the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University. Currently, the site is open to all users, but Microsoft keeps So.cl on the down low.

So.cl is a truly unique experience which tries to mix Bing with social networking. The site can be described as a mixture between pinterest and tumblr; it is currently being run by Microsoft’s research division.

Today’s updates include a newly redesigned collage experience, a new Picotale ability, and connection to Microsoft’s Blink app for creating GIFs.

The collage service allows users to paste links, search Bing, or upload their own content to convey a message or idea. The recent update now allows users to rearrange images and express themselves more freely.

So.Cl

The new function, Picotale, allows users to input a “meme phrase” and have So.cl automatically pull images from the internet appropriate to what is being said. The service works off of Bing’s image search and in my testing – can be quite fun.

Lastly, So.cl is allowing you to create custom GIFs through Microsoft’s BLINK app for Windows Phone and Windows 8 PCs. You can read more about BLINK 2.0 and its abilities, here.

What is So.cl and where exactly does it fit into the social networking spectrum? It is hard to say and we aren’t exactly sure what Microsoft wants to do with the platform - they seem to simply be using it as a test bed. Integration with apps like Blink might show promise that the network is here to stay though – at least for a bit.

If you have never checked out So.cl, we do encourage you to check it out. Just as Google+ is the official fanboy playground for Googlers, So.cl is the official fanboy playground for Microsofties. And let’s admit it – a lot of you will have fun.

Have you ever used So.cl – what do you think?

Source: Microsoft Research Blog (opens in new tab)

44 Comments
  • Now where is the WP app ?
  • Right!! WTF.. I swear we complain about others not supporting MS's WP, but sometimes I feel like MS doesn't support MS's WP!... Lol!
  • I feel like you probably just found out about this today and already you feel cheated some how. I seriously doubt there is even an iPhone nor Android app for it. And if it truly bothers you that you don't have quick access to So.cl then pin the mobile version of the site to your start screen.
  • Oh pipe down! We knew about this site, and that there's no app available.. I swear, some of you feel as though you have to always parent what others say on WPC.. We just want to bitch sometimes.. If you don't like it just keep scrolling, but quit hating.. Gezz!
  • "you have to always 'parent' what others say..." that would be 'parrot'. Just sayin' ;)
  • No smart guy "parent", as in watch over, guide, and reprimand what others are saying. I know, and meant what I said. Your comment is exactly what I'm talking about..
  • Wait for the iPhone app, then Android, then we will get a web wrapper about 18months later
  • Lol!!
  • We need to share this site with all of our Facebook friends, and on Twitter.. Go to the so.cl website, go to settings and use the invite tab to share So.cl.. This is MS answer to that stupid Google junk.. DO IT!
  • I just logged in since last year and it does look nice.
  • This would be much more accessible if there was a WP app.
  • That's what ⤴he⤴ said..⬆⬆
  • Hahaha omg lol huge fail xD
  • Now i follow You Michael i am a member since Launch :)
  • I wonder where MS will take this. It doesn't feel like they really want it to be anything major. It has some cool and unique functionality but it's hardly going to take users away from the likes of FB when Google can't even do that. It seems more along the line of a tumblr rather than connecting with other people which is what their WP stance is.
  • Yeah I think they'd be stupid to try and compete with Facebook and Twitter. So they didn't. There are many different definitions of 'Social Network' nowadays.
  • And now I translate everything(very well) in the users language (for me German)
  • I never really understood so.cl... might have to give it a try again.  I don't have any really techy friends so that might be a problem.
  • so.cl is not about friends, but about interests. each post is categroized and so you can either follow a person, with whom your share some interests, or a whole category. i have been there for a while, but being active there takes a lot of time - cause making nice, lets say "post-art" takes time.
    btw. "post-art", can one say that? english is not my native language so..
  • Depends what you mean really, English is a strange language (native speaker) and often has dangling modifiers. Post-art could either mean;
    1) Art that you post, either mail or online.
    2) After-art or progressive art. As to infer that its beyond post modern.
    3) art about post. Eg, postboxes, mailboxes, post offices, stamps, the royal mail etc.
    4) art about woden poles.
  • Well said.
  • I forgot about this. But anway, it's got a really bad name and there are thousands of other much better options. 
  • This is a good site.. I like it. Its the male version of pinterest, and MS, as clueless as usual, should be touting that point!
  • That's a great definition. I looked at it yesterday when I saw this article. It looks like a great idea with a lot of potential. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to follow someone or make any content without a photo/video/gif (but I think that's the idea: no more random "thoughts about how my bad cheeseburger has ruined my life" a-la facebook).
  • Yeah, I think MS isn't trying to reinvent Facebook here rather make it its own socl network, of course with the help of the other popular socl networks.. I think its cool. And if MS turns it into a app with picture taking capabilities, and adds some unique filters, and effects, they could have the new Instagram on their hands.. They just need to pull their heads out of their asses.
  • They should combine So.cl and the blink app together.. We should be able to view so.cl from the blink app.
  • It looks really fun from the video. It even has a cool sounding name and the meme ability seems awesome. People would be all over that posting meme after meme about any and everything.
    Funny thing i they show the app running on Windows Phone 8 at the 1m40sec mark and mentions it is available for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8.
  • No they didn't show an app. That was the mobile website. And they were talking about the BLINK app being available for both WP8 and W8.
  • Sooo... Where's the link on the Store for the app.?
  • There's no app for any platform yet.
  • Read the discussion ⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆⬆
  • I've been (occasionally) using so.cl since it was in beta. I like it, but it needs a bit yet.
  • Thanks for reminding me about this site. I joined way back but haven't come back much since. It just occured to me that Facebook pretty much copied the design in their new timeline. 
  • Facebook copied?
  • On further review, maybe not.
  • I remembered about so.cl on Saturday, pinned the site to my start screen, and now there's news, how weird. The website works good.
  • Never heard of it before!
  • Interesting. And Blink, updated today, feeds it.
  • i use socl a lot its my main social network,follow me there http://www.so.cl/#/profile/Hameed-azar
  • I will leave facebook
  • I'm about to do the same thing. The only reason I have not closed my account is for business purposes.
  • I use it for genealogy research. I gather web resources into a so.cl page, sift and pan through it and keep only the best or largest golden nuggets of information. So.cl and OneNote plus Family Tree Maker with ancestry.com are key.
  • Very nice! Never heard of it before now. But, I'm in... Looks like fun.
  • Nice try Microsoft, but it's not gonna happen...at least for now with Facebook is still around. But point given for trying though.