It appears that Microsoft is planning a new project called Tulalip and could be positioning it as a hybrid search/social networking service.
Tulalip currently only offers a “welcome” message that explains itself this way:
With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever.
There’s a non-functioning search box at the top of the page, preceded (mysteriously) by the word “OPEN.”
There are non-working links on the page that say “See how it works,” along with “terms of service” and “Privacy Statement” links. There are also Facebook and Twitter sign-in buttons. In fact, the Twitter sign-in/authorization page confirms further that Tulalip is an “experimental app” from Microsoft Research.
The Twitter authorization screen says that Tulalip will be able to “update your profile” and “post tweets for you,” among other things — which sounds like the service may offer some kind of social networking management tools. The Facebook connect button is currently not working, so I can’t see what Tulalip would access in a Facebook account.
It’s far too soon to speculate if this some kind of Microsoft response to Google+, but as Fusible points out in a different article, Microsoft’s domain activity — which may include a purchase of social.com, too — has all happened in the past two weeks, after Google+ launched on June 28th.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update this story if/when we get more information.
Postscript: A Microsoft spokesperson tells us that Socl.com is “an internal design project from one of Microsoft’s research teams which was mistakenly published to the web.” The website shown in the screenshots above has been removed and a message on socl.com now echoes the statement we received.
(Thanks to JB for the tip on this story. If you have a tip for us about this story or something else, please contact us.)