Microsoft's FUSE Labs has announced it is killing So.cl (or just plain Socl), a multimedia-infused social network and search tool positioned as a complement to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and other more established social services.
The So.cl (pronounced Social) service quietly launched at a few universities in late 2011, became generally available in 2012 and is being discontinued as of March 15.
The free service could be accessed via a Microsoft or Facebook account. (Confession: I created my first So.cl post this morning.)
In a blog post about the farewell, FUSE Labs fails to explain why the service is ending:
"Socl has been a wonderful outlet for creative expression, as well as a place to enjoy a supportive community of like-minded people, sharing and learning together. In supporting you, Socl’s unique community of creators, we have learned invaluable lessons in what it takes to establish and maintain community as well as introduce novel new ways to make, share and collect digital stuff we love. Through you we’ve been able to introduce many interesting ideas..."
Those include ideas such as Riffs (visual responses to posts), Picotales (part meme generator, part game) and Blinks (short dynamic video apps) -- none of which really gained much if any exposure outside of So.cl.
FUSE Labs works with product and research teams at Microsoft "to ideate, develop, and deliver new social, real-time, and media-rich experiences for home and work." So.cl, for example, included integration with the Microsoft Bing search engine.
The end of So.cl does not spell the end of social networking for Microsoft by a long shot. After all, the company has spent $1.2B in 2012 on Yammer, for internal collaboration/social networking, and last year Microsoft snapped up LinkedIn for $26.2B.
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