Microsoft is closing the social network you forgot it ever launched

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So.cl, the little-known and probably much-forgotten social network project from Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs division, is closing down.

The service was launched in late 2011 as a social community where the objective was “collaborative consumption, not communication.” Initially for students, So.cl opened up to anyone once it had gotten going and subsequently added support for mobile devices, too.

When word of the project first leaked out prior to its launch, many had assumed that Microsoft was building a social network to compete directly with Facebook — this was a time when companies might be inclined to do that, remember Google Buzz launching in 2010?

But Facebook this wasn’t. It actually used Facebook log-in for user sign-up so if anything it is/was a Facebook app. If you’re looking for a comparison, the focus on image collages and video made So.cl a little like a Pinterest-style service for visual content.

Either way, So.cl quietly existed outside of the mainstream social bubble garnering little attention for itself, but now, after more than five years, it will cease to exist on March 15, Microsoft Research said in a brief post blog:

Socl has been a wonderful outlet for creative expression, as well as a place to enjoy a supportive community of like-minded people, sharing and learning together. In supporting you, Socl’s unique community of creators, we have learned invaluable lessons in what it takes to establish and maintain community as well as introduce novel new ways to make, share and collect digital stuff we love.

So there you go, remember that time Microsoft had a social network.