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What is Microsoft's Tulalip?

The software company has taken down a site, socl.com, that some say is a social service that Microsoft has yet to unveil. For its part, the company says it's an internal design project that was "mistakenly published to the Web."

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
This is all that's left of Socl.com.
This is all that's left of socl.com. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Eagle-eyed observers have found what some believe is an as-yet-unannounced social service from Microsoft.

The Web site, socl.com, was discovered by Fusible yesterday. According to the blog, the site discussed a "social search" service, called Tulalip, that would allow users to "find what you need and share what you know." Much of the site did not work, according to Fusible, but the blog was able to determine that Microsoft was behind it.

Following that report, Search Engine Land discovered a few more details about Tulalip, including the service's Facebook and Twitter sign-in buttons. Search Engine Land said that when it tried to authorize Tulalip to work with Twitter, it was called an "experimental app." The authorization said that the app allows users to "read tweets from your timeline; see who you follow, and follow new people; update your profile; and post tweets for you."

For its part, Search Engine Land wasn't so quick to call Tulalip a "social-search" service, but did say that it appeared to be "a hybrid search/social-networking service."

Mary Jo Foley over at CNET sister site ZDNet had a different take on what Tulalip might be. Citing Search Engine Land's findings, she said that the service might actually be "a Twitter app or at least an app that accesses Twitter to collect information." She also believes that the program might be hosted on Windows Azure if it eventually launches, since the Tulalip page referenced Cloudapp.net.

So, what is Tulalip and socl.com? There's no way to know for now.

Following the reports on Tulalip, Microsoft took the site down, and replaced it with a landing page, saying that it didn't mean to make the site live. It also didn't divulge any details on what the site's function might be.

"Thanks for stopping by," a note on socl.com reads. "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 did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on what it might have planned with Tulalip, including what it's really designed for or when (or if) it might launch.

Update 9:20 a.m. PT: Responding to a request for comment, Microsoft had this to say: "Socl.com is an internal design project from one of Microsoft's research teams which was mistakenly published to the Web. We have no more information at this time."