Microsoft is working on a new social network to compete with rivals Facebook and Google.
The social network, called Socl, is now in its first testing phase and may be coming out soon, according to The Verge. The layout may look familiar, mainly because it's reminiscent of the old Facebook with a three-column layout, basic navigation on the left, a social feed in the middle and invitations and other options on the right.
However, Socl has a research component, including a search field at the top which asks, "What are you searching for?" ( It's more than likely that search engine will be powered by, you guessed it, Bing.) Your search can be shared on your news feed and friends can comment, like or tag. So perhaps you better refrain from searching porn.
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The most interesting part is called the video party feature, that comes with a chat client, for watching YouTube clips together.
However, there are no private messaging, no direct replies and nothing really private. That may be it's biggest drawback.
The Verge reiterates that Socl is a research project, so that it may not every get a mainstream release -- or if it does, could be radically different.
Google+ was criticized for creating a social network late in the game, and Microsoft is coming even later. It's difficult to know if it will catch on or if Facebook might use lawyers to shut down its very familiar layout. Microsoft and Facebook have a chummy relationship, but this new project might test those bonds.