MANILA, Philippines — Just recently, blog website Fusible stumbled upon a project in what seems to be a new social service from Microsoft. Microsoft seems to be working on a social/design project called Tulalip, that was accidentally published to Socl.com. Although Microsoft was quick to deny that there is such a project, the splash page that was shown pointed to a social service website.
The page describes the Tulalip service as a way for users to easily find what you need and share what you know”. Users can connect the Tulalip service to both Facebook and Twitter. The page also contains two rows of images that look very similar to the “Tiles” interface design found on Microsoft’s new Window’s Phone 7 operating system.
After the page was reported, Microsoft replace the content of Socl.com to a message that reads, “Thanks for stopping by. Socl.com is an internal design project from a team in Microsoft Research which was mistakenly published to the web. We didn’t mean to, honest.”
Microsoft added that Tulalip is an internal design project from one of Microsoft’s research teams which was mistakenly published to the web.
Now whether its mistakenly published or not, the question is why is Microsoft designing or creating its own social networking site? To think that they have a very close relationship with Facebook. Facebook is using Bing and is also using Skype for their recently announced video chat. So why would Microsoft design something to compete with Facebook, or is it? Here are my possible scenarios:
Perhaps Microsoft is setting its eye not on Facebook but rather Google+. Tulalip will not compete with Facebook but rather team up with Facebook to fight Google+. Facebook has 750million subscribers, dividing these users into 3 (Tulalip / Facebook / Google+) is better than dividing it just between Facebook and Google+, especially if I am right – that Facebook and Tulalip will combine forces to fight Google+.
Another possibility is Microsoft wants to have their own social service site to be their social service mobile offering – to be part of Windows Phone 7. Or it could be that Tulalip would act as an aggragator for both Facebook and Twitter so that users need not to visit the two sites just to see their updates, post pictures and videos on their wall. These are just speculations coming from my playful mind, but who knows, I may be right.
My next question is this – do we still have room for another social networking site? Do you think mthe social networking community needs to have three social service sites just to communicate with their friends? Imagine this, if you have a Facebook account, Google+ account and a Tulalip account – would you ask / invite your friends to join Tulalip (since they’re the new kid on the block). Would you maintain three sites when chances are you’re going to see the same friends from Facebook and Google+..
Looks like everyone is working on something to get some pie of social web. I really hope that the population of the social networking community would be enough to support three social networking service. If one fails to capture a sizeable number of users, I won’t be surprised if the site will be taken down soon.
Facebook is Facebook, so Microsoft has its hands full now that Google+ is gaining a lot of momentum. Microsoft should work fast if they want to become a serious contender. Because in my humble opinion – having two social networking sites is enough – having another social service webite would be a crowd.