Microsoft is making its social network, called Socl, available to anyone who wants to try it out. Socl is still technically a beta release, and Microsoft hasn't said when or if it will commercialize the site.
Janet I. Tu from The Seattle Times reported, "Microsoft has opened to the public Socl, the company's experiment in mixing search and social networking. The site -- which can be accessed at www.so.cl -- was originally designed for students and open by invitation only." She added, "The site now includes more rapid viewing and creation of posts, easier people- and interest-finding, and virtual 'parties' where users can create playlists to watch videos and chat together, according to a Microsoft blog post."
Computerworld's Sharon Gaudin observed, "Much like the increasingly popular Pinterest, the site's homepage shows a changing mixture of users' posts that range from images and pictures about gaming, religion, baking, animals and music."
According to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, "Microsoft officials have described Socl as a kind of mash-up of social-networking and search that is designed to get the learning communities to start thinking about how to use collaboration technologies in new ways. And according to the Softies and contrary to popular rumors, Socl is not an attempt to take on Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler or Pinterest. Socl combined ideas the FUSE Labs teams have pioneered in some of their other experimental projects, like Montage (a photo collage app) and Kodu (game programming)."
ReadWriteWeb's Mark Hachman wrote, "Microsoft's Socl social network, now open to all, is big, bright and beautiful. And perhaps just a bit too much of each." He added, "What is Socl? Think of it as a casual social network, like Pinterest, but more verbose. And with some elements of Google+ thrown in for good measure. Basically, Socl makes it extremely easy to share Web pages, images and videos you've found on the Web (with Microsoft's Bing search engine, of course), and even like them with a 'Smile' icon. And while there's a dash of the 'Metro-style' typography from Windows 8, it's neither obtrusive nor one of the primary design elements."