Microsoft’s search/social hybrid project is alive and well and, if current reports are to be believed, may be headed toward some kind of private beta test in the near future.
If you were with us back in July, you might recall the small firestorm that burned for a couple days after news spread about Socl.com. At the time, it was called Tulalip and, when Microsoft published a very early version of the site, the home page promised a way to “Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever.”
At the time, Microsoft described it as an “internal project” and said publishing it was an accident. Socl.com no longer resolves and nothing’s been heard about the project since then. Until today.
TheVerge.com (and other Microsoft “friends”) has been testing Socl.com and wrote up an overview Tuesday along with several screenshots.
What stands out for me on reading The Verge’s writeup is how Microsoft appears to be staying true to the idea of melding search and social. The status update bar at the top actually doubles as a search box (or maybe it’s the other way around), and if you use it to conduct a search, Bing search results appear to get posted as content that friends and contacts can comment on.
(image via The Verge)
The Verge suggests that Microsoft may be planning to offer an invite-only beta soon. When asked to confirm that, a Microsoft spokesperson gave us this statement:
Microsoft’s FUSE Labs is an internal research group working on a number of forward-looking projects related to future possibilities around social search. Socl is one of the projects that we are exploring. We’ll let you know as soon as we have more to share.
There are a number of other aspects to Socl.com that The Verge touches on in its overview.