At this point you’ve probably heard something about So.cl. At first I heard people say that it was going to go up against Facebook and Google+, even though anyone with a cursory knowledge would know that it’s not the case. I also have colleagues tell me that this shows that Facebook is getting into search engine marketing, but I think that’s not the case either.
But, what, exactly, is it? Right now, it looks sort of like Pinterest or a social bookmarking site. Basically, people can search for things on So.cl and then post them. In other words, So.cl is crowdsourcing the task of picking through the search engine results and then putting it there so that you, or your friends, can comment on it.
But, what is it not? It’s not a Facebook-killer. Nor is it, I referred to earlier, Facebook diving into search. So.cl is clearly owned by Microsoft which already owns Bing, so, even though it’s linked to Facebook, it certainly is not going to replace Bing.
And that’s because So.cl really is Bing, just the next step. If you sign on to So.cl, you have the option to set it as your default search option. This is just the fulfillment of a prediction I made earlier this year: although Google+ has not really taken off, it has made Bing much more desperate for attention. Microsoft has recognized that they cannot beat Google at its own game, so it’s going in a different direction. They’re hoping that So.cl really blows up people will start using it for all of its searches. This would directly attack Google and hopefully cut into their market penetration. So.cl doesn’t have any ads, yet, but you can be sure that once So.cl takes off they’ll start showing Bing’s ads on there as well.
But, will So.cl send Bing into the stratosphere or will it end up being flash in the pan? It’s still too soon to tell, but I can say that we certainly are going to have a lot to blog about for the next few months.