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Microsoft’s name isn’t exactly synonymous with social networking, though that hasn’t stopped the company from finding angles into this space – generally, with more of a focus on the business side of socializing, as with its LinkedIn and Yammer acquisitions. It’s own efforts in social, meanwhile, have failed, as with last month’s shuttering of its social network for students, Socl.

Now the company is giving social another shot with a new iMessage app called “Who’s In,” aimed at helping friends plan events and other outings, like movie dates, dinners out, visits to nearby attractions, and more.

The app, which just launched today on the iMessage App Store, does not have an iPhone or iPad version at this time – it can only be accessed via iMessage.

When you first launch the app, it asks you to select an activity: “Eat and drink,” “Watch a movie,” “Visit an attraction,” or “Create your own.”

After choosing one of the options, Who’s In then leverages Microsoft’s search engine Bing for its suggestions of things to do – like area restaurants or movie showtimes, for example. These appear after you consent to sharing your location with the app.

With a few more taps you enter the other details, like the event time, or – in the case of a custom event – the location, name, and a description.

The app will the create a custom card for your event, designed for texting, which includes a thumbnail image with the location and the time. The images the app uses are generic, however, as you can see in the above example. That’s disappointing in terms of the overall experience.

Recipients can tap on this card and then tap a thumbs up button to indicate they’re “in” or the thumbs down to indicate they’re “out.” (Hence the app’s name.)

What’s also useful is that the app offers a way for the event’s organizer to enter in multiple dates/times, allowing Who’s In to serve as a sort of group polling app.

This…

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