Not to be outdone by Google and its social networking site Google+, Microsoft has potentially jumped on the social networking site bandwagon, although it claims the site is research for now.

The Verge provided an exclusive look at Socl.com, which it describes as “a site that mixes search, discovery, and, go figure, a social network.” Microsoft states, according to The Verge, the site is a new way to ”Find what you need and Share what you know.”

Microsoft Will Soon Begin Public Testing of Its Research Project Socl

The Verge describes the design of the site as “bare bones” but the main feature is a “What are you searching for?” function, which is essentially a status bar:

With Socl, you’ve got the option to post to your feed either a note that you’re searching for “live Prince covers” or that you’re ‘live at a Prince concert.” Entering a search term or status update drops it into your feed with appropriate Bing results, where your friends will have the option to comment, like, or further tag it. Clicking ‘tag’ adds the search term to your personal list of tags, and you can sort your friends’ searches and status updates by type (i.e, web, video, news, images).

Other interesting facets of the site include:

  • A “seemingly out of nowhere” video party function, which would allow people to chat while they watch YouTube videos together.
  • Social search, which would encourage dialogue among friends to a request you may post. This is similar to when people on Facebook or Twitter ask for recommendations of what smartphone to get or what the best Italian restaurant in their area is.
  • There is no real private individual-to-individual communication. All searches and tags would be public to your Socl friends.
  • It has Twitter and Facebook logins to couple uses of the sites. Tech Crunch stated that it doesn’t think Microsoft would intend this site to contend with Facebook or large social networking giants, but to be “more of a loose network for sharing whatever you’re doing or looking for.”
Microsoft Will Soon Begin Public Testing of Its Research Project Socl

Socl featured a 'video party' function, which includes live chat for YouTube video watchers.

This isn’t the first leak of Socl. Tech Crunch reported this past July that Microsoft “accidentally” posted the site live. The Verge states that the site is considered a research project of Microsoft’s, meaning it may never be fully launched, but a public beta site is expected to take place later in an invite-only fashion in the near future.

We can only stay tuned to see what comes of this.