Over the weekend Microsoft launched So.cl, a social network supposedly designed to help students on research and learning projects. So.cl seems like an odd blend of Web search and social networking. It lets users blend search results collaboratively with their networks of friends.
So.cl also lets users hold "video parties" in which they can watch YouTube videos together in real time and chat using a little chat box. This group watching/listening feature is becoming commonplace in lots of startup social networks for mobile phones, too. Examples are Turntable.fm for music and Chill for video.
Search engine expert Danny Sullivan reviewed Microsoft's new network and found So.cl confusing.
The Next Web took a look, too. It came away skeptical of Microsoft's claim that the network's target audience is really just students doing research. The site also profiled the Microsoft FUSE Labs, which created it.