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It's called So.cl and it's borrowing from Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, and many other successful social and sharing sites. Microsoft says it's primarily for students (as Facebook once was), but it's open to all. I decided to check it out for myself…

www.buzzfeed.com

You can sign in using either Windows Live or Facebook, and it is automatically connected to those accounts. That is an interesting move, and one that indicates that So.cl is not actually aiming to eliminate Facebook, but to compliment it in some way.

www.buzzfeed.com

Navigating the site is pretty far from intuitive -- for example, when trying to find interesting people I could follow (since no one I actually know is there yet), it automatically suggests ten popular people with no option to either see more, or check out their profiles without following them. There's also no way to import a profile photo -- you have to either have a Microsoft Live photo, or give it an existing URL.

www.buzzfeed.com

The site is set up primarily to connect searching directly to social sharing. Here's what happens when you search for "buzzfeed," for example. Immediate short list of top, general results, with the option to select and share. It seems like this feature would be more useful if it was more linked to timeliness, like a twitter search.

www.buzzfeed.com

Apparently the default privacy settings let everyone know when you send "messages" to other users. While I personally have never been particularly concerned with privacy, I'm not sure that this seems like something most people would embrace.

www.buzzfeed.com

Another big feature of so.cl is "video parties," which are "rooms" where you and other users are logged in and anyone can add youtube videos to a queue. The idea is okay, but the interface is really confusing and overwhelming. There seems to a be a way for users to "skip" songs, so, for example, in the "David Guetta Video Party," each video (none of them David Guetta videos) played for a maximum of about 20-30 seconds at a time.

www.buzzfeed.com

The best part of so.cl so far is reading through the everyone feed to see what people searched for.

www.buzzfeed.com

 

 

 

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