Microsoft Outlook Social Connector Deserves Respect

by Brett Pollard on March 9, 2010

Facebook joins LinkedIn with Outlook integration

While Microsoft has long been considered an afterthought in the social media space, they have been quietly adding useful social services to their existing product line.  Just last month, Microsoft announced agreements with both Facebook and MySpace to integrate their networks with Outlook Social Connector.  In addition, they will soon be adding integration with Microsoft Windows Live.

If you’re currently using Microsoft Outlook and would like to get a taste of how Outlook Social Connector works, you can begin using it now for LinkedIn.  The following video demonstrates just how useful it can be to connect your LinkedIn account to Outlook.

Historically I’ve been a skeptic when it comes to new Microsoft releases, but this is one of the more interesting tools I’ve seen from them in a long time.  After all, anything that can streamline the time-intensive social media process should be a consideration for everyday use.

In order to install LinkedIn for Outlook just follow these simple steps.

  1. Download Outlook Social Connector
  2. Download and install LinkedIn for Outlook
  3. Restart Outlook and follow the instructions for setting up LinkedIn

Requirements:

  • Microsoft OS – Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7
  • Microsoft Outlook – Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 Beta 32-bit (build 14.0.4514.1009)

As of now, Outlook Social Connector also works with Sharepoint Server 2010.  If the upcoming Facebook integration offers comparable functionality to the current LinkedIn integration, Microsoft will have a serious contender among the 3rd party social media applications.  The fact that Outlook is a desktop application rather than a web application may be a turn-off for some, but just like Google Buzz, Microsoft has the luxury of leveraging millions of existing users.

Are you using Outlook Social Connector currently?  Let us know what you think.

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