Microsoft has just launched So.cl, their own version of a social network, but it is a little different from what you typically see from social networks. Generally, a social network is a place to share status updates, locations, photos and general information about what is going on with your life. Microsoft’s social spot is all about sharing web searches.
The idea behind so.cl is that sharing searches on the web will lead to interesting discussion and conversation with your friends about the things you find. Are you looking for information about the life of Doc Holliday? Well you may have a friend who is an expert on the matter and could offer some interesting ideas. This could lead to a valuable exchange of information. In theory, this could lead to more meaningful conversations than those about what you had for dinner or how some guy cut you off driving down the road.
When you share a search you can filter out results that are not up to par. So if you searched for Doc Holliday, and only three of the websites were worthwhile, you can cut out the others and only share the useful ones.
Like all social networks, users will have profiles and be able to follow other users. The obvious difference is the type of posts you follow. The general backbone of So.cl should feel familial to anyone who uses any other popular social network.
Users can sign up for this new service with a Windows Live ID or Facebook. If you sign in through Facebook, So.cl will show you any of your Facebook friends who are on the service so you can follow some people you already know.
Clearly, they are not trying to compete with Facebook, as they allow you to sign in through them, but could this be a service that actually takes off? Would you be interested in sharing the interesting things you find on the web with So.cl?