Microsoft let the social cat out of the bag tonight, publishing Socl.com to the web temporarily, then removing it promptly with this spash-screen. A creation of the FUSE research group, we managed to take a short look around, and managed to find a few key pointers to the service.
One thing to note for sure: Microsoft have 'done a Google+' in the way that they have just copied the general three-column layout of Facebook. But, of course, with that comes a 'function over form' mentality, which Microsoft presents via three key cornerstones: Video Party, Tagging and social search. Video Party is, basically, their version of a Google+ Hangout, allowing for easily constructed video conferencing with the ability to share-view Youtube videos. Tagging is the prehistoric act of following particular topics and via the tags attached to it, a la 2008 (nearly fell off my dinosaur there). And Social search sums up the package, offering a more sophisticated version of what is already present in different trend searching tools, making things more relevant to you via the tags you define, and relying on the fact that you will interact with the content to 'pass it along.'
Overall, they seem to have the public sharing stuff nailed; but there's nothing private: no private interactions or chats, direct replies to people or possibilities of curation. They don't provide you the chance of building an online personality: it's function for the needless sake of function. To the benefit of it though, there's not a single mention of Silverlight on the site, as it's all programmed in Html 5 (thank god); but they have a long ways to go until they can formulate something ready for the rumoured public testing...although, as aforementioned, it was an "internal design project" so we may never actually see it.
Source: The Verge