Archive for August, 2011

Is Microsoft Launching a Rival to Google+?

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Microsoft’s PR department has been working overtime thanks to the recent discovery of a “social search” project discovered on a Microsoft-owned domain. The new search engine, titled “Tulalip” on the teaser landing pages, was discovered shortly after the launch of Google’s new social network, Google+.

Though Microsoft claims the leaked site is nothing more than an “internal design project,” media sources all over the Web are asking one question: is Microsoft launching a rival to Google+?

Microsoft Turns Out to Be Mystery Owner of “Socl.com” Domain

microsoft-plus-one

While researching the recent sale of the domain name “Social.com,” a Fusible.com reporter made another discovery: “socl.com” was also sold on behalf of an unknown client. That unknown client? None other than Microsoft.

Later, reporters discovered a teaser landing page on Socl.com. The landing page read, “Welcome! With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever” (prior capitalization left intact). The site appeared to be a social media addition to Microsoft’s search engine, Bing. The landing page offered log-in buttons for both Twitter and Facebook.

The landing page also held a variety of non-working links that included a link to a “See how it works” demo as well as the project’s terms and conditions. The Twitter sign-in link did function and revealed that if authorized, the Tulalip app would be able to:

  • See the tweets on a user’s timeline,
  • Post tweets,
  • Update the user’s profile,
  • See the user’s followers and
  • Follow new people.

Microsoft’s Response

The Tulalip landing page was ripped from the web shortly thereafter. A message on Socl.com now reads:

Thanks for stopping by.

Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly pulished to the web.

We didn’t mean to, honest.

The Punches Kept Coming

Just north of Microsoft headquarters, there’s a Native American reservation with a familiar name: the Tulalip tribes. Upon hearing the news of Microsoft’s impending search engine of the same name, the tribes wasn’t exactly flattered. The Tulalip name is a trademark of the tribe, which operates a successful casino under the trademark. ”We just don’t want anyone using it in a bad way. It’s our name,” a tribe member told a local news station. Microsoft met with the tribe to explain that the name was strictly intended to be an internal code name and would not be used publicly.

What’s the Future for Socl.com?

Most agree that it doesn’t look like Microsoft is crafting an entire new social network, especially given Microsoft and Facebook’s partnership. Instead, the Tulalip project will probably be more of a social-infused search. Some sources are predicting that Microsoft is trying to beat Google to the social search game since G+ hasn’t been combined with standard Google searches yet.

So what could be the future for Socl.com? Would all Bing + Socl searches include your friends, families, and colleagues’ interests? For example, if a freelancer “likes” a copywriting blog or a content writing services company on Facebook, would that freelancer’s Twitter followers see those results first in a Bing search for “writing?” If your niece tweeted a link to an upcoming photography exhibit, would that exhibit be highlighted in a local “things to do” search?

New network? Bing supplement? Mere “internal design project?” Whatever the Tulalip project may be, it’s clear that the Bing vs. Google battle is far from over.

Image Source: Ronada via Flickr

Google Plus Games Feed

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Google Plus is introducing a Games feed – or so the rumor goes. Google has been shooting itself in the foot a little with Google Plus – like the debacle with Google Plus business profiles and subsequent favorable treatment.

As with the forthcoming business profiles, with the confirmation of a Games feed to come in Google Plus, Google is trying to one up the social behemoth of Facebook. Probably one of the most annoying things that I find with Facebook is that everyone’s game updates and notifications clog the chatter from your friends, your enemies, and those random people you haven’t talked to since elementary school.

Why wouldn’t Google try and add and refine a Games section? They are a major investor in Zynga – the creators of the Facebook addiction, Farmville. It will be interesting to see what kind of games they roll out on the Google Plus games feed or however they will be doing it – the ‘confirmation’ of Google Games was a mention in the help center of ‘shared games,’ and someone who had a lot of time on their hands went really deep into the code of Google Plus and found the logo for Google games and also some very interesting API actions.

We are an ADD over-stimulated disaffected internet population these days – we aren’t in the yesteryears in middle-of-nowhere Worcester MA. Heating oil is not how we power our devices, and we aren’t easily amused by staring at the ceiling all day – kids are glued to the computer, are pasty white from lack of sun…Long story short, we have short attention spans, and if Google can’t recognize that and leverage that, and do it better than Facebook has, people will return to what it familiar and continue to clog our Facebook news feed about the new farm they just built or the person that they just shot or whatever.

Some of the games that might be going into Google Plus include some of the typical Facebook games – there are speculations about everything from zombie killing games to puzzle games, poker and retro shooter games.

As there has been no official announcement from Google about the Games stream and what kind of capability it has, we are just going to have to wait and see what happens, and what news Google is going to release – and when.

Google might be tied up at the moment with the bad press from the business profiles business – and might be wary of releasing any new features in Plus at the moment. Or – it could be the exact opposite and Google will want to release new features on their social network to push the previous mess out of people’s minds.

Hopefully Google will be introducing Games soon – I’m curious what this clash of social networking titans will look like when all the cards are on the table, and the two end up being fairly comparable.

Emma Taylor is a writer for an international consulting company, and has been for the past four or five years. A geek at heart, she has always been interested in technology and the digital world.

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