Thursday, July 21, 2011

Social Networking Platform in the Works for Microsoft?


It’s been just a few weeks since Google launched Google+, but there are already rumors swirling around concerning the possibility that Microsoft might be creating their own social networking platform.

The rumors began the evening of Thursday, July 15 when a certain image was posted online (the image included with this article). The rumors seemed to revolve around a platform that would seek to compete with Google+ but not Facebook.

Socl.com displayed a welcome page for a service called Tulalip. The page read, "With Tulalip you can find what you need and share what you know easier than ever." The side of the page then featured buttons for allowing users to sign in with Facebook or Twitter accounts.

Since that evening, Microsoft has replaced the friendly page that sparked all of the rumors with a boring, simple page stating, “Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest.”

When questioned about the possible site, Microsoft spokeswoman Jackie Lawrence simply echoed what the company posted at the site.

According to a report by Fusible.com, Microsoft purchased the domain rights to Socl.com from Marksmen. The purchase was reportedly made sometime after June 21. This means that Microsoft really only had about three weeks to work on the project; however, besides the leaked picture, there is no real evidence that Microsoft is planning to create its own social networking platform.

Andre Eisner, the director of community and content at Retrevo, said, “This is such a vague rumor, I think it's hilarious that people are jumping on it. People are jumping on it and they're already bashing Microsoft, saying it's no Google+ killer."

Eisner continues saying that he simply does not believe that Microsoft could have put together such a project in a three week timeframe.

"They can't even get copy and paste into Windows Phone 7 and you think they'll create a world-class social media site within two or three weeks? Not going to happen," Eisner stated.

"It makes more sense to integrate Bing into social media environments," Eisner said.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine (which I personally think doesn’t even compare to Google’s search engine) already offers users the option of social search capabilities via a tie-in that Microsoft worked out with Facebook. It was first introduced in 2010 and allows users who are searching through Bing to see what their Facebook friends “like.”

Just in June, Microsoft took things a step further by updating Bing Mobile to allow users to have Facebook integration involved with their Bing searches on their phones as well. Microsoft and Facebook have been partnering on projects for years.

Who knows what the picture was all about, but it is definitely uncertain as to whether or not it means that Microsoft will be providing users with a social networking platform. Maybe this was all a publicity stunt that Microsoft came up with to get people excited about the possibilities of a Microsoft platform, but maybe it wasn’t.

Unfortunately for those who are curious, Microsoft’s Lawrence says, "We have no more information at this time.”



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