updated 07:05 pm EST, Tue November 15, 2011
Company downplays site as research project
Microsoft is reportedly reading its own social networking site, known as Socl, that appears to be aimed directly at Facebook and Google+. Screenshots suggest the site pairs a Facebook-like social feed with Bing search functionality, while enabling users to tag specific topics so the content can be quickly searched for at a later time using keywords.
Social search is one of the focal points, described as a way to "search and share the best of what you find with the world." Queries can be dropped into the social feed as a status update, enabling other users to provide feedback.
Aside from the social search capabilities, Socl integrates a "video party" feature that allows multiple users to watch the same YouTube clips while participating in a "party chat." Each user can search videos and add them to the queue.
Navigating to Socl.com brings visitors to a notification that the site is an "internal design project" from Microsoft Research that was "mistakenly published on the web." The company has yet to formally announce plans to launch its own social network, however The Verge claims the site has completed most internal trials and is almost ready for public launch.