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Microsoft's experimental social network, Socl, will shut down next week

The way Socl looks today

Microsoft’s social network, Socl, is shutting down in just a week’s time. Though some may be devastated by this news, most people will probably scratch their heads, because Socl never officially made it out of the research phase.

Back in 2011, a small team out of Microsoft’s Fuse Labs decided to build a new type of social network, that would combine story streams, the Bing search engine and external content to create a unique community. While initially restricted to just a handful of students, Socl (pronounced social), or so.cl by its other spelling, went public in 2012. Despite a very responsive team of agile devs, the network never really took off the ground, so even today Socl is still marked as a research project.

The way Socl looked in 2012 - note the sweet sweet Windows Aero

Unfortunately, that project has now come to an end. In a post on the Fuse Labs page the team behind the social network announced that the system would be going offline on March 15. Despite its very few users, Socl received some positive reactions even early on. Neowin forum user Matthew_Thepc even gave it a comprehensive review, lauding the interesting approach that Microsoft was taking by aggregating external content, including from other social networks. Alas though, Matthew ended his review with quite a prescient thought:

Overall, I don't think So.cl is gonna be getting any bigger than just a research project...Although I do consider it better than Twitter, I don't believe that Microsoft is going to invest enough money in it to become a major player

The team behind Socl closed their sad announcement by expressing their gratitude for the fans and those that stuck with the project and created content on the network.

Luckily, for those of you who’ll need something more to remember the network by, there are still Socl-branded tees and hoodies available for sale. You can set those right next to your Ping memorabilia.

Source: Fuse Labs

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