Microsoft describes Socl as a social search tools that allows users to share information and meet people with similar interests.
So.cl was initially launched in 2011 for students at a few colleges and universities. The network then then opened up for a public trial in May this year.
"So.cl is an experimental research project, developed by Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, focused on exploring the possibilities of social search for the purpose of learning," the company had said on the So.cl website.
Now any person with a Facebook or Microsoft account sign up to the site.
"As you may know, Socl began as an experiment in social search for students and learning," Microsoft said in a blog. "Over the past several months, we’ve watched Socl evolve into a place where people connect over shared interests expressed through beautiful post collages."
The set-up is similiar to Pinterest’s, so users can expect a visually-based experience. Socl offers a crowd-sourced interest gallery to help find people with common interests. Users can also follow and search for friends through posts and the people gallery.
The network also offers the ability for users to create a playlist, chat and watch videos with others in Socl. This feature adds a more social aspect to watching videos and could be the company’s attempt to bring traffic from YouTube to the site.
Socl’s scrolling front page, however, shows posts from all users instead of only friends which could make finding relevant content from friends’ tedious.
Andrew Yates, CEO of Artesian Solutions says that more enterprises are realising the commercial value of entering the social market.
"To date, Socl has been one of Microsoft’s best kept secrets. Initially developed as a tool to look at the future of social experiences and learning, Microsoft’s decision to open up Socl indicates its confidence that there is an appetite for new social channels," said Yates.
"Microsoft’s latest move also highlights how the Social CRM market has matured over the last twelve months with large enterprises recognising its commercial value. Moving into 2013, we will witness large technology vendors break into the evolving social landscape to defend their dominance in the competitor landscape. "
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