Microsoft partners with LinkedIn, Facebook for social inbox

17 Feb 2010

Microsoft is making its Outlook email client more social by adding a new service called Outlook Social Connector (OSC), which will link in users’ Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace accounts to their inbox.

The new service is expected to launch in beta today and the LinkedIn plug-in will be on the professional networking site also while the Facebook and MySpace plug-ins will not be ready until June when Office 2010 goes on sale.

What Outlook Social Connector does is add a new pane to the contact information for one of your connections, so that when you receive mail from them, clicking on this will not only bring up their email address but also the latest status updates from their social-networking sites.

Specifically, the LinkedIn team has built a provider for the OSC using Microsoft’s public SDK to provide the user with both pictures and activity from colleagues directly from their network.

Clicking on a message from a co-worker will display their new LinkedIn activity, as well as link to their profile page.

The new tool will also bring a social view to Outlook in general: when you click on a contact you will receive a timeline of recent emails and files exchanged: a bit like the Xobni third part add-on.

OSC will work with both the beta and final release version of Office 2010 as well, as Office 2003 and 2007.

By Marie Boran

Photo: Outlook Social Connector