Now that Google has raised the gauntlet and taken on Facebook with Google+, all that’s left is for Microsoft to join the fray. It could very well be Microsoft. Fusible reports that the company bought the domain social.com for $2.6 million dollars, and then went after the four-letter socl.com too.
The page directs to a site called Tulalip, with the statement, “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever”, reads a message on the home page.” “Find” (notice the caps) is obviously a reference to Microsoft’s search; “Share” (more caps) sounds more oriented to social networking.
TechCrunch thinks that it could be an effort social searching, where search results are modified by what others in the users circle of friends (to borrow a Google+ term) choose. This has been tried before, with everything from the now defunct Wiki-Search by Wikia to efforts to incorporate friends’ preferences to Google search results. At the same time, they also suggest that it could be, “a rather light foray into social networking.”
Responding to an inquiry, Microsoft wrote, “Socl.com is an internal design project from one of Microsoft’s research teams which was mistakenly published to the web.” It has since taken the site down too. Based on the brief time it was online though, it looks like Microsoft is at least considering the potential of social networking.