Microsoft accidentally briefly opened the curtain on a new social media service it's working on called Tulalip, before turning off access. It's not quite clear at this point what Tulalip will be, but one thing is clear: It's no Facebook or Google+ killer.
The blog Fusible yesterday accidentally uncovered the Tulalip service when tracking down Microsoft's purchase of the domain socl.com. Fusible reports that when it headed to socl.com, it found the Microsoft Tulalip service, with this welcome:
With Tulalip you can Find what you need and Share what you know easier than ever.
Searchengineland did additional research, and found Facebook and Twitter sign-in buttons. When the Twitter sign-in button was clicked, a screen said that Tulalip could "update your profile," and "post tweets for you."
Microsoft told Searchengineland that Tulalip is "an internal design project from one of Microsoft's research teams which was mistakenly published to the web."
So what is Tulalip? No one is quite sure. Its welcome page sounds like it's an amalgam of Bing and social networking, possibly social network-aided search. But from what Searchengineland found it, it may also be a management tool for multiple social networking sites as well.
No matter what it is, though, it's certainly no Facebook or Google+ killer, nor should it be. Facebook is too entrenched, and Google+ already has 10 million users in a very short amount of time --- Microsoft simply wouldn't be able to successfully compete with them. It would take up a good deal of the company's resources, and offer back very little in return.
However, piggybacking onto existing social media services and combining them with Bing search could be very useful. If you add to that tools for managing or extracting information from multiple social media services, you can have a very big winner.
It's too early to tell with Tulalip will be. But I'm hoping for a combination social media search and management tool.