Is Microsoft Launching a Rival to Google+?

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

socl

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.

16 Comments

  1. Microsoft has done and eger to do more with software and now competing again with Mac n totch

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  2. Interesting, I’m sure that there are many things that we don’t know about, and it’s only normal that Microsoft wants to take a bite from the social media. Otherwise, they might be left behind, and no one wants that.

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  3. PageRank is probably one of the most important algorithms ever developed for the Web.
    PageRank is not simply based upon the total number of inbound links.
    The basic approach of PageRank is that a document is in fact considered the more important the more other documents link to it,
    but those inbound links do not count equally.
    good points here about Trust now being a major factor in search engine results,
    that goes with what Rand and others have been saying too.
    this also settles for me the value of a natural approach to gaining backlinks and not getting a huge bunch of them,
    or a large # of high pr backlinks in a short period of time – it rather undermines the Trust factor.
    I do wonder what you think of bing and how Trust does/will play a role in their results.
    it seems to me from a rather preliminary and cursory look at some results and comparing those to over at google and yahoo,
    that bing ofter relies more on the keyword/s being the actual url,
    which seems to me a rather poor way to rank sites/pages.Great Experience, will recommend them to everyone.Thanks For Sharing.

    Reply
  4. So what could be the future for Socl.com? Would all Bing + Socl searches include your friends, families, and colleagues’ interests?

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  5. They are heading for the wall.
    How can they hope to be better than the experienced Microsoft ?
    Beating them, dream on!

    Reply
  6. Interesting, but I think this might be wishful thinking!

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  7. So what could be the future for Socl.com?… wateever will happen..user going to confuse for sure…

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  8. Another social network? Why not? No one believes in it? Sure they don’t. Who had strong beliefs in facebook or twitter when they were in their early stage? A handful but now? Just look at them. Trying to think into perspective I can only say ‘another tool for online reputation management.

    Reply
  9. I agree, there are a lot of social networks a the moment. Still Facebook and Twitter seem to be the nr 1 social networks and Google+ or socl.com are nowhere near them. but who knows. Gmail wasn’t this populair from the beginning, Google takes the time they need and so is Microsoft.

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  10. Now it’s Microsoft, a new social network, please do not have time to post so many social networks! That horror!

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  11. REally interesting,but i really dont need an other big company to start an other scoial media site. Aint we have enought of them already?

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  12. At some point Microsoft has to either change direction completely and/or move away from social all together if it does not launch an attempt at some social market share.

    Reply
  13. Sounds really exciting. I am so looking forward to it. The war of social networks. I was amazed at the sudden downfall of Orkut when Facebook was launched. From then, I believe that any new netwrok can break the backbone of the dominating netwrok in no time. Many came and many went, Facebook is still standing firm. Waiting to see if Google+ or the so called socl.com beats it up.

    Reply
  14. I would love to see Microsoft develop a social network site of its own. The idea is actually very exciting. I want to see what Microsoft will do to make their social network site competitive.

    Reply
  15. Ugh- just what the world needs, another half baked social media platform. Honestly it’s obvious that these engines are lusting after the data that social media provides and want to own/control it themselves.

    G+ was a poor attempt at that – but I guess time will tell (and probably prove me wrong)

    Reply

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