Ever heard of Tulalip? You have now, and so have millions of others, thanks to a slip by a Microsoft Research team. It seems J.B. of Fusible was looking for information about the purchase of Social.com when he came across the splash page for a social/design project on socl.com; it was removed almost immediately, but not before a few of the fastest clicks in the webz got a screenshot. Now, in its stead, SOCL contains only an admission of error:
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.
A representative at Microsoft, speaking to Matt McGee of Search Engine Land, gave pretty much the exact same quote. McGee’s opinion is that “[i]t’s far too soon to speculate if this some kind of Microsoft response to Google+, but as Fusible points out in a different article, Microsoft’s domain activity — which may include a purchase of social.com, too — has all happened in the past two weeks, after Google+ launched on June 28th.”
The splash page was non-functional in its short-lived stint, but the tiny bit of info about Tulalip (ugh please change that name) we can derive from it is substantial enough to know that it’s some kind of search-slash-social media hybrid, with apps for both Facebook and Twitter. And if the bit of verbiage is accurate, “With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever.”
If dual search and social function developed by Microsoft doesn’t sound like a hastily-penned reply to Google+, I don’t know what does. I guess we’ll find out more the next time someone accidentally leaks some info… or when it goes live.