Microsoft's new social networking service called "So.cl" (pronounced "social") was launched in December 2011 to a small audience comprising of students from the University of Washington, Syracuse University, and New York University.
Today, the company has quitely opened the "So.cl" site to general public. Though, Microsoft still calling it as an experimental research project -- now allows users to sign-in with either using a Windows Live ID or a Facebook account.
To use the So.cl, you must be 18 years of age and older.
The FAQ page says, the project is still a part of Microsoft's FUSE Labs and is not associated with Bing. Despited, the So.cl search experience is powered by Bing and Microsoft use the public Bing APIs to display search result data.
The project is using a minimal set of features focused to help combine search with the social network for the purpose of learning. And, it is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools.
With So.cl "you can share your search and help others discover what they might be looking for. Fun commentary & discussions usually follow. You can choose to follow specific people in your So.cl news feed. You can also subscribe to different groups such as food, music, movies or games. You can also watch videos at the same time with other So.cl friends. Of course, you can post your own messages for your So.cl followers."
So.cl is an experiment in open search. By default, searches in So.cl are shared publicly and will also be available to third parties. "Unless you mark it as "private", your search results, and any other data you post to So.cl may be viewed by all other So.cl users. So.cl does not automatically post your searches, comments, or likes to your Facebook stream unless you choose this option. Also, we don't contact your Facebook friends unless you invite them. In addition, we will make data that was publicly posted on So.cl broadly available for use by other entities and individuals," Microsoft explained.
You can even purchase a real world So.cl T-shirts for $26.95.