Usually when a new product is launched, it's ramped up by huge publicity and intense advertising - but in the case of Microsoft's social network, So.cl, the announcement got lost amidst the heavy Facebook IPO press.
Originating from Microsoft's FUSE labs, the network was quietly unveiled out of its beta shell after undergoing numerous tests by university students last year - running as an "experimental research project" whereby users can take advantage of its academic research facilities.
However, before writing it off as just another Facebook, the service actually serves as an additional social function - requiring users to login either through their Windows Live or Facebook accounts.
According to the FAQ by So.cl: "We expect students to continue using products such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other existing social networks, as well as Bing, Google and other search tools.
We hope to encourage students to reimagine how our everyday communication and learning tools can be improved, by researching, learning and sharing in their everyday lives."
Working on the same premise as Pinterest wherein users can extract content from other sites and aggregate it into one source, So.cl has been designed to act as a research-based tool, to be used by academics.
Given the sheer dominance Facebook currently has in the social network marketplace, Microsoft has been clever with its latest move - by encouraging Facebook users to participate in So.cl's activity. But hey, it's true what they say - if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Or at least invent a social networking service that takes advantage of another hugely successful social network.