I know. It's been Facebook Facebook Facebook all the friggin' time lately. The IPO was a bit of a flop, Mark Zuckerberg took off his hoodie long enough to change his relationship status in public, yadda yadda yadda.
I totally understand if you've filled your quota for news about social networks for the next six months. But I'm afraid I have some news you may want to sit down for.
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Actually I have three bits of news:
- Yes, there is a new social network in town.
- It has a goofy name.
- It's from Microsoft.
Few items hit the Cringely trifecta quite so perfectly. So forgive me, but I feel compelled.
This week Microsoft ever so quietly launched the beta version of So.cl, the rumored "Facebook killer" first reported on here last November.
So.cl, in case you are wondering, is pronounced "social." Apparently there's some kind of secret tax on vowels that Microsoft is trying to avoid. Though some sites are reporting that So.cl is open only to crazy college kids, I was able to not only sign up and but invite 10 others and post an open invite on my Facebook page. Apparently nobody at Microsoft reads this blog or they'd know better.
Interestingly, So.cl isn't a competitor to Facebook. Microsoft is quite cleverly trying to leverage the world's largest social network by creating a Facebook app that lets you log in. You can also log in via your Windows Live account, at least until it turns into Windows Dead.
No, So.cl is really a competitor to Google Plus. It's essentially a social network built around the Bing search engine with a few extras thrown in. Or as Microsoft puts it: