First Impressions: So.cl

Observations:

  1. Growing pains: Editing my profile was painful. I encountered one error changing my display name, other times it timed-out. Today was better.
  2. Google+ “Circles” have been replaced with more intuitive “Interests”. There are pre-defined Interests in the Explore menu to get started quickly.
  3. When you add a Tag to a post, an Interest is automatically created and a search is added to the menu bar. Technically you are automatically Subscribed to this interest (you can unsubscribe from the Interest page).
  4. The Interest URL is transparent. Try this one: http://www.so.cl/#/interest/itsm
  5. Adding an external link creates a mirage of photos from the linked page. It looks nicer and more unique than adding a single photo.
  6. Minor usability issues: Failed 3 times to add a link. After entering the URL, there is a non-intuitive “ADD TO POST” button beneath the preview.
  7. More usability issues: when adding a link, reviewing additional images makes the “ADD TO POST” button go away.
  8. Very easy to add new content to So.cl by dragging a button to your Favorites bar (Firefox). Thereafter just click on the Favorite button from the current page and a new tab/page will open. I really like this simplicity.
  9. Search is integrated with Post. As are adding a Post, you can quickly search content (Bing) to link to the Post. You can browse the searched content by type (video, image, web, etc.) This also makes it very easy.
  10. There’s a new “Video Party” function that integrates with YouTube that appears to be adding social functions around watching video content. The video can take up the main page or can be viewed (in small) in a static bar on the right side of the page.
  11. There is a Feed for Everyone which is a monstrosity.

Thoughts:

  1. I actually like Microsoft’s new interface guidelines. I’m no usability expert and won’t debate the topic, but I find it visually appealing, intuitive, and functional with both traditional desktops and tablets.
  2. People will forever question the rationale of So.cl given failure of Google+. Forgive Microsoft–it is their strategy to be in all things. Microsoft is patient and will tolerate a long period of disuse. So.cl will be integrated with Windows 8 and may become a real player in the tablet version.
  3. Despite the temporary usability issues, also contains some usability innovations. The integration of Video Parties throughout the interface (sticky) and searching while posting are high on the list.
  4. I believe the Video Party function will be useful for live product demonstrations and webcasts. It will also be useful in viewing saved content in a social context, eventually interacting with other members of the party who share interests. The stickiness of these interactions remains to be seen.
  5. Microsoft hasn’t hit a home run but it is a promising start. When will my friends start to use it?

I am afraid to invite anyone but feel free to Follow me at http://www.so.cl/#/@Gregory-Tucker.