Microsoft to pull Facebook, MySpace into Outlook

Feb 17, 2010 By JESSICA MINTZ , AP Technology Writer
In this screen shot provided by Microsoft, the Microsoft Outlook Social Connector page is shown. (AP Photo/Microsoft Corp.)

(AP) -- Microsoft Corp. is taking another step toward turning Outlook, its desktop e-mail program, into a hub for information from popular social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

Microsoft's "beta" test version of the Outlook Social Connector, an add-on for Outlook, was first discussed last November. When a user clicks to read an e-mail message, a new pane on the main e-mail reading screen fills with the sender's most recent social-networking activities. That could be that sender's new Facebook status update or a newly added professional contact on the business networking site LinkedIn.

On Wednesday, Microsoft updated the Social Connector software, and LinkedIn released the first outside plug-in for the feature.

Microsoft has a mixed record when it comes to Web trends. The company's free Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger programs are widely used, but its Windows Live blog and social network didn't pick up much steam in the face of competition from Facebook. In this case, a small startup called Xobni has already built an Outlook add-on that combines inbox search with content from Facebook, LinkedIn and others.

Microsoft's software also treats Outlook itself as a social network. If the e-mail sender and recipient are jointly working on a document stored on a company's Sharepoint server, both will see updates if one logs on to make edits.

For now, the software doesn't let people use Outlook to push information back up to LinkedIn, Facebook or other sites.

People using Office 2003, 2007 and beta versions of Office 2010 can download the updated Outlook Social Connector beta from Microsoft and then visit LinkedIn for the add-on software.

Microsoft said the Facebook and MySpace plug-ins will be ready for download by the time Office 2010 goes on sale in June.

Will Kennedy, a corporate vice president for the Office group, said some of Microsoft's business customers have expressed concern that employees will become less productive if they have all this extra information at their fingertips.

But Kennedy sees business-friendly uses for the Social Connector. He thinks it could speed up processes that require approval from a string of people, because each person in that chain could see when it's time for him or her to weigh in.

"We don't want this to sort of be the next great time waster in the workplace," he said.

Explore further: Technology to help people with disabilities to learn and communicate

More information:
Outlook Social Connector: http://bit.ly/creaaU
LinkedIn software: http://www.linkedin.com/outlook

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nada
not rated yet Feb 17, 2010
Microsoft Outlook becoming the social network information center is like a pile of dogshit on the hot pavement becoming a medal winning olympic contestant.

Every day I use two identical computers at work. One with Windoze and the other with Slackware Linux. Linux is fast and responsive with no delays. Windoze still operates like Win3.1 coorperative multi-tasking - One application stalls and the whole desktop locks up.

Why is that Microsoft? Still running DOS under Windoze 7?
nada
not rated yet Feb 17, 2010
If Windoze had any brains they would do what Apple did. Go steal a copy of BSD/Linux, stick your own gui on it an call it the next generation OS from your brilliant staff? Yes OSX=BSD with all the \n's changed to \r's (how stupid, apple was for doing that.)
ScientistAmauterEnthusiast
not rated yet Feb 17, 2010
Awesome! i wont be able to respond :) how amazing, i love it when they leave obvious features out of software *Cough* ipad *Cough*. People still use outlook = news to me
sealdave
Feb 18, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
LuckyBrandon
not rated yet Feb 18, 2010
This is just not a good idea...
For one...is anybody even still on myspace?
For two...those damn sites are a waste of time other than passing a quick message to a family member or something...which is still much quicker/easier done by email anyways....

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