So.cl (pronounced “social”) is an experimental research project, developed by Microsoft’s FUSE Labs, that lets you use search to express and share ideas through beautiful story collages. So.cl is for anyone who has something to say, create, discover and connect with people who have like interests.
Powered by Bing; they use the public Bing APIs to display search result data. When people want to express themselves on So.cl, they look for great content on the web and share the results in the form of a story, or post. These results can be web pages, images, or videos found through Bing and they are shared with the So.cl community. We see this trend today on many social networks, such as Twitter and Pinterest, where shared links spread virally and amplify popular content. So.cl experiments with this concept by letting you easily share links as you search and to easily find and organize stories by interest.
So.cl uses Facebook authentication, which means you use your Facebook account to log in, and your name and profile picture from Facebook appear in So.cl. but they do not post any content from So.cl into your Facebook stream. You can also log in to So.cl using your Windows Live ID. So.cl is not meant to replace existing full-featured search and social networking tools, but rather to enhance the search and social experience.
So.cl’s main objective is to facilitate the exchange of information between users. The model is somewhat related to Pinterest in that images associated with links allow great content to spread virally. There is a stir in the world of social networking about So.cl’s potential in the market. With so many other social platforms out there, Microsoft may find it difficult to produce users and advocates for its product.
There is no denying search is going social, a trend that has been building in popularity since the creation of Google+. We think So.cl is an innovative idea and a great resource for “learners” of all ages. Whether it is a student working on a project or a stay-at-home mom hoping to learn more about a topic, So.cl allows users to share and discover information that they find interest through search.
Pinterest is a kind of visual bulletin or inspiration and ideas board if you will. Users must request an invitation to join Pinterest, then they are free to create boards with categories like “Books I Love” or “Beautiful Places” or “Products That Save Me Time” and “clothes I love.” Users can then link images from websites (using a Pinterest browser bookmark) or upload images from their computers and “pin” the images to the boards. As with Twitter, users can follow other users, and Pinterest images can be repinned and shared. Pinterest is rapidly gaining users and mindshare, and it is becoming a huge driver of referral traffic.
But just how successful is Pinterest? According to CNN.com Unique visitors to the site grew 400% from September to December 2011, and just recently one study showed that Pinterest drives more visitors to third-party websites than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn combined. Demographics are surely a large part of Pinterest’s success: While technology’s early adopters have sprung upon other interest-driven networks like Quora, these sites now suffer from a form of “cumulative disadvantage” in which mainstream users are put off by how tech-centric they’ve become.
Pinterest provides no barrier to entry for anyone looking to bookmark, share and comment on images and ideas from around the Web. But there’s more to Pinterest than just its unique audience. Some claim if you would have followed the evolution of social sharing online when it started gaining popularity, you might have been able to predict something like Pinterest on the horizon . As tech entrepreneur Elad Gil insightfully explained in an article on one of his blogs, sharing on the Web has been following three parallel trends.
- Sharing involves less effort over time.
- Social sites are becoming more visual over time.
- People-centric” recommendations are being augmented by “topic-centric” networks — which is to say that while Facebook lets you explore the Web through information shared by friends, newer social networks organize content by topics of interest. Some in the technology industry call this the “interest graph.”
The bottom line is, you join Pinterest because your friends are already there, which may make it difficult for future similar sites to social bookmark with the same success.
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