Socl, Microsoft's latest foray into the social networking world is here. Microsoft has been working on it for over a year and it's now finally ready for everyone to join. It's gotten a few updates along the way and the latest puts a lot of emphasis on the visual aspects.
It borrows from the Windows 8 look, but the first impression you'll get is that this is Pinterest, but a bit more chaotic.
Because that's what the team behind it finally settled on, after trying to determine exactly what Socl is for.
The gist of it is that you can create posts, a collage of images and links, about any topic you want. It goes beyond what Pinterest does, but there's one big caveat, you can only add content from Bing searches.
To create a new post, you search for whatever it is you want to post about and then add the links and photos Bing serves to the post.
It's a good idea since you'd be using a search engine to find the stuff you'd want to add anyway.
On Pinterest, many of the images are plucked straight from Google Image Search. In practice though, it's very limiting as you have to stick with what Bing provides.
There seems to have been another option, the socl bookmarklet, which you can imagine worked just like the Pinterest bookmarklet and would have enabled you to start a post from any web page, but it's not working for now, possibly forever.
Overall, there doesn't seem to be a lot of purpose to Socl. It's designed to work like Pinterest, but then it's artificially limited, so it can't actually compete with Pinterest.
But if it's not a Pinterest clone, what's the point? There are a few more features, that seem tacked on at best, like "parties," Microsoft's take on Google+ Hangouts, in a way.
The parties enable several users to watch online videos at the same time. This has nothing to do with the catalogs that are the main function of the site.