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Microsoft launches Pinterest rival Socl

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Microsoft has launched a new Pinterest-like social network called Socl.

The company had been testing the new social network with a small group of users made up of Microsoft employees and students, but now it has put it into public beta and made it available to anyone with a Facebook or Microsoft account.

Socl (pronounced 'Social,' apparently) appears to have been redesigned since its initial appearance back in May, with a stronger focus on images. Indeed, while some might dismiss it as another attempt to grab a slice of the Facebook pie, it now bears a stronger resemblance to Pinterest.

In the redesigned site, if you head to the Home page you'll be confronted by a collage of photos from users you follow and those commenting on subjects you're interested in.

Creating a post is the big innovation here. You start not by hitting a simple 'create post' button, as is usually the case, but by typing a search term. Powered by Bing (obviously), a blank post is then created for you with related resources listed along the right hand side of the page.

You can then click on these images, videos, Amazon listings, Wikipedia entries and the like to add them to your collage. It's really quite clever.

In the same way, you can "riff" on other people's posts, adding your own links, images and other materials.

Microsoft describes Socl as "a service where people connect over shared interests," which highlights the fact that this isn't a quick way to communicate with your buddies and family - it's a way to engage with those with the same tastes as you. Indeed, Socl started as an experiment in social search with the aim of creating a learning tool for students.

Now you can sign up to the experiment over on the sharp new Socl website.

Are you interested in Socl, or is this a social network too far? Is there space for another? Let us know in the comments box below, or through the Trusted Reviews Twitter and Facebook feeds.

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