Microsoft to Debut New Social Network, ''

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft will soon introduce its own social networking site, according to industry observers. Called '' (pronounced "social"), the new service is designed to appeal to US-based college students. is part of a movement on many US university campuses to offer courses that investigate the rapid rise of online social media. It is designed to target a very specific niche market: post-secondary students looking to share research and information across various institutions.

Students can create or join "video parties" for face-to-face interaction, or they can decide to share their content via a Facebook-style news feed. (Source:

"No Threat" to Established Social Networks

Microsoft says it will encourage its users to continue using their preferred social networks and that will not be a threat to Facebook, Google+ or Twitter. (Source:

This is similar to the position staked out by Yammer, which has given up on creating an all-encompassing social networking platform and is instead focusing on offering a social network designed exclusively for private communication within organizations.

"[There are] innovations in the way schools are teaching and learning from students, creating new programs to study how learning spreads, motivates learning and creates expertise," says Lili Cheng, manager of Microsoft Research's FUSE Labs. Beta Testing at Three US Universities

Microsoft is currently testing at three college campuses in the US: The University of Washington, Syracuse University and New York University.

It's not yet known if Microsoft plans to offer the new service to other educational institutions, though expansion seems likely to be the next logical step if the company wishes to have its product acknowledged as a useful learning tool.

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