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Oops: Microsoft accidentally reveals secret social project (venturebeat.com)
95 points by hydrazine on July 15, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments

Last month Microsoft likely acquired Social.com for $2.6 million[1], then this domain Socl.com through the same company. Suddenly this domain has a social site on it (still in Google Cache) and they claim it's just a MSR project? Not a chance.

1: http://fusible.com/2011/07/rumor-microsoft-to-launch-its-own...

having the header domain like social won't do anything for them. They've got live.com, and look how little they've been able to do with that.

at least live.com was a distinct brand. Having the domain social.com is like inventing a new vacuum cleaner and calling it "Vacuum".

Or creating a windowing UI and calling it Windows?

They named windows before most people knew what a windowing UI was. They're trying to come into an already mature market, they won't be able to create much awareness with a generic brand.

Think how it will be referred to on broadcast news which loves quoting what people are saying on social networking sites as it's cheap to produce (and is how most people will first hear of it).

"we've been getting lots of reports in via Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and Social"

"there have been outpourings of grief on the social networking sites Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Social"

They might call it "Microsoft Social" but that's a bit long. I don't think Google Plus is much better in that regard. Facebook and Twitter are the better brands at two syllables and not having any association outside of social networking.

I wonder if Google eventually wants Google Plus to be recognized as simply "Plus". Goes along with "Wave" and "Buzz".

Or a word processor and calling it Word?

Or a spreadsheet and calling it Numbers

I have trouble believing all these "accidental leakages" are actually accidents. The new trendy marketing gimmick?

Well it does provide them with a sort of "market viability" test. Leak some information to see how the world reacts, and then decide if it's worth proceeding or not (obviously not, in this case).

They didn't do a great job at analyzing the feedback towards the courier project then.

It's their traditional "don't commit your efforts to our competitor - our product is just around the corner".

Invitation only rollouts would appear to follow a similar thought process.

Trying to overhang the market may be trendy, but it's certainly not new.

Anyway, in the absence of any reason to believe that this thing, whatever it is, will solve some problem in a compelling new way, revealing it's existence doesn't accomplish much. I'd say it seems more likey that this is simply a mistake, rather than a weak marketing stunt.

The new "concept car".

very true...its all Mktng gimmick....this strategy offers free publicity. See what happend to iphone4...huge hit after " Being left at a bar Accidently :D "


I didn't bother to downvote, but do you honestly think that the Gizmodo iPhone 4 incident was a carefully orchestrated PR stunt? Seriously?

looking at the screenshot, and actually reading the content of the small tiles, this does not look like G+/facebook/twitter, but more like a wikia/knol/stack*/quora.

I mean, there isn't anything in this single screenshot suggesting this as a new "generalistic" social network , so why are so many comments to this submission trying to frame it so?

Why? Most likely laziness and convenience. It gives people something to rant about. Apparently HN has a hard time conducting a respectable discussion about Microsoft.

Hmm everyone's all riled up about a product they know nothing about. And I thought logic was central to a computer science degree. Guess I was wrong.

The vast majority of HN readers do not have CS degrees. In fact a very large portion of HN readers do not even identify themselves as programmers or "hackers." That said, I don't believe people with CS degrees are particularly better commenters than people without them. Microsoft is just a touchy subject for many geeks. Much like Facebook and the meme that our privacy is in danger, or advertising -- it generates nerd rage.

In the 21st century, it is hip to claim you're being oppressed. That said, nerd-rage makes for very interesting material. Basically everyone concludes everything and the entire tech crowd explores the search space of the future of an org and the final conclusion is "time will tell".

[Disclaimer : MS intern. Opinions are mine]

Part of me wants to see this come into fruition, and I think that's the same part of me that wants to look at car accidents on the side of the road as I drive by.

Sounds more like a Quora competitor than a social project. If it weren't for the fb and twitter logins, I'd suspect this was aimed more at the corporate user base than as a public site.

It would be more surprising to me if they weren't working on something like this.

tulalip? that had better be a codename.

It's probably codenamed after Tulalip Bay in Washington state.

Yup. The only thing I know about Tulalip is there's a casino there with a really annoying jingle they play on ads in Vancouver.

Also a pretty sleazy Indian casino.

can we just call it a sleazy casino, and not let prejudice creep in because it's on native land.

Flying total OT here but how is it prejudice to describe the place that way? "sleazy Indian casino" is obviously a personal opinion of an Indian casino; why does he have to give less information simply because he dislikes the casino?

If I say "sleazy American diner" is that prejudice too?

It's "a sleazy Indian (operated) casino" vs. "sleazy American (cuisine) diner".

The first is referencing the ethnicity of the casino's operators, the second is referencing the style of the diner and doesn't infer anything about the ethnicity of the owners.

I see the sibling says "Indian" could be considered wrong.

However, again, with you post why is it wrong to say their ethnicity? Incidentally I was plugging for American as being an indicator of ethnicity; there's also a subset issue so for "sleazy American diner" read "sleazy Greek bar" (a bar in Greece, though it could be a bar run by a Greek I guess it doesn't seem to matter).

I think he's playing off the fact that some people consider the term "Indian" pejorative for Native Americans.

Good thing it was accidentally published to the web; it would have been a strange press conference to be at if they actually used this name.

It is pronounced two-lay-lip, if that makes it seem less insane.

Boy does that help. I kept reading it as "Toola-lip," coupled with an involuntary tick.

People are going to hate explaining that name to people.

History will look back at this decade as the age of social networks

Help me out, fellow pedants.

Shouldn't it be either "makes finding what you need and sharing what you know easier than ever" or "find what you need and share what you know _more easily_ than ever"?

No, why?

Also, your first example is ungrammatical, and the second is seems somewhat awkward when it begins (as theirs does) with 'With Tulalip you'.

For all you social types, are you weary yet? I guess I am finally being rewarded for being somewhat introverted...one less website to sign up for.

Microsoft Research projects seem to rarely turn into real projects. This will probably be the first and last we see of this.

Yeah, how long ago was I supposed to see surface tablets at my local restaurants/bars? And that was something I actually wanted...

There's a few restaurants in London which do this like http://www.inamo-restaurant.com/ but it's never really taken off. There's not much value add for the customer.

".. secret social project"

And THIS, THIS is why MS just doesn't "get it", yet. I won't count them out, but the time to get in is getting pretty slim.

It looks as though Microsoft feels pressure to rush and start "leaking" their social presence to counter Google.

I'm not too familiar with ASP.Net, but if you view source on socl.com that is some jacked-up output.

I thought the same, I use .net all the time and a majority of it is generated by .net itself but the rest looks like its been copied and pasted from word or something with the extra stuff in there.

It makes me wonder if this really was an internal project as would they let people loose on such a big project that are copying and pasting stuff from word?

Or again, is this part of the conspiracy??

Microsoft's lack of innovation in general recently upsets me, I used to be a massive Microsoft fan but the more Apple do recently the more I want to follow them instead. I hope they do pull something out of the bag

"Microsoft Oops" is a great product name

Accident my ass, this comes just in time for the rumors, thrill, and "social need" to combat the with the release of Google+


Balkanization ho!

For those who prefer to live in the Balkans ;-)

The rest will stay where they are.

I'll never use it


There is one social "network"/site I won't ever have an account =)

I guess lime green is the new orange.

Everything microsoft attempts is so desperately uncool that the very concept of Microsoft doing social is futile.

There is literally no way they could make this work. It's another Ballmer "car crash in slow motion" initiative.


What about Kinect? Microsoft is big and there are a lot of people who like Microsoft or at least some products of it despite you like that or not. E.g. I have not seen Windows programming company without Microsoft evangelist yet. There are even more people who are indifferent to technology (similarly to human rights, wars, environment issues, religion and etc.).

Therefore Microsoft making social is not futile while I'm not sure if they really need that.

Maybe, but it could still provide useful competition in a market which desperately needs some. (No, two players are not enough.)

And they're again last to the party... they desperately need a Bill Gates again, or at least someone with vision.

It's interesting to hear that. I believe it was Bill Gates' advice that led Ballmer and co. to negotiate a buyout of Skype and comments were made in the same vein then as well.

I wonder if socl.com was available or bought for $s!!! Mostly bought, because thats too cliche a name to be left lurking.

Almost every pronounceable 4 character domain was taken by 2006 or so. This happens to be similar to 'SoCal', as well. Take a guess.

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