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Microsoft Socl’s Beta Update Now Available To General Public

The Beta version of Microsoft’s Socl, a social platform that “allows you to express and share your ideas through rich post collages comprised of images, links, captions and videos”, has just been made available to the general public.

The collage sharing site was originally designed to be used by college students at the University of Washington, Syracuse University and New York University, providing them with a platform on which they could share their common interests through pictures and links.

When a user chooses to follow people or interest pages on their current Socl account, the posts generated by these sources appear in the “following” tab of the “posts” page. So, for example, someone could follow their best friend, “Films”, their partner, “Sports” and “Architecture” and they would see all the relevant collages from these people and interest pages in one place.


“What began with a focus on social search for students and learning has evolved to be a service where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful posts,” said Microsoft in their announcement email, citing customer feedback as the driving force behind Socl’s development.

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Now, anyone can sign up to Socl by simply logging in with their Facebook account on the site’s homepage. They are then given access to the Bing-powered search engine, which gives them the ability to create collages of pictures, links and videos, with the option of adding a caption.

The Beta version of Socl, pronounced social, includes a number of new features, the most important being the “me” Page: a profile page which displays the users posts, interests, activity and connections.

Microsoft have also improved the “posts” feed, so that users can view posts in a two-column or three-column format, and the interests gallery for easier discoverability, as well as introducing “parties” where users can stream, view and comment on videos together, in real time.

The appeal of Socl is in the combination of its interest-focused connectivity and its Pinterest-like collage sharing. Socl even takes interactions one step further, allowing users to “Riff” on a post by creating a related collage of their own.

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Socl, however, has one enormous flaw: collages can only be created from content found online using Microsoft’s search engine Bing, meaning that only the content’s arrangement is unique to the collage, not the content itself.

On their blog Fuse Labs, the division of Microsoft responsible for Socl, call the site “a place where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful post collages”. However, without the potential for truly unique and original content, will people care about others expressing and sharing their interests, or even want to share their own?

Is Socl providing users with anything new or different enough to survive, or even compete with, Facebook’s dominance?

Contact us on Twitter or leave your comments below.


Will Sigsworth

Follow us @SocialMediaF & @WillAtSMF

www.socialmediafrontiers.com
Microsoft Socl’s Beta Update Now Available To General Public Reviewed by Will Sigsworth on Wednesday, December 05, 2012 Rating: 5
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