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We are excited to announce the Outlook Social Connector!
The Outlook Social Connector is a set of new features to help keep track of your friends and colleagues while enabling you to grow your professional network. The Outlook Social Connector is available now as part of the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta.
The Outlook Social Connector (OSC) brings social views of your colleagues and friends right to your Inbox. As you read your e-mail messages, glance down at the new People Pane to see the picture, name, and title of the sender. A rich, aggregated collection of information about the sender is included.
The OSC presents useful information including:
You’ll see rich information about your colleagues’ activity such as profile updates to their MySite, documents and websites they tag, and changes to their personal status message.
Know who you’re meeting with. Use the OSC’s Gallery View to see all of the people you’ll be interacting with in an upcoming meeting:
One click on any of those pictures puts you into the single-person view, providing easy access to their activities and communication history. You can easily switch in and out of Gallery View by clicking on the little double-arrow icon in the upper-right corner of the People Pane.
Build your network. The OSC makes it easy to grow your network; by clicking the ‘+’ symbol underneath a person’s picture, you can send a request to be their colleague on any of the networks you are connected to. The OSC also automatically synchronizes your colleagues from each of your connected networks and saves them as contacts in Outlook. This allows you to easily send messages, call, or synchronize contacts just as you would any other Outlook contact.
Open Connectivity. The OSC in Outlook 2010 will connect by default to the new social networking experiences in SharePoint 2010. We are happy to announce that connectivity to any network, including SharePoint, is built using our public ‘provider’ extensibility platform:
This means that anyone can build a provider to connect the OSC to a social network, their company’s line-of-business applications, or literally any system that can produce streams of activity about its users. The SDK will be publically available tomorrow on MSDN, and my colleague Randy Byrne will be making a more detailed post on provider development with links to the SDK at that time. We are excited to make this platform public and are looking forward to feedback as our customers begin developing providers for their networks and business solutions.
Go Live! Next year we will be releasing a provider for Windows Live, enabling you to connect to your friends and colleagues on Windows Live right inside of Outlook:
You see pictures, profile updates, and personal status messages of your friends from Windows Live Messenger. See their Office application and document activity through SkyDrive integration, and the aggregation of dozens of other third-party sites from around the world.
Are you working with other social networks? You bet! Outlook has partnered with LinkedIn, the online professional networking site, to provide an amazing connected experience for our shared customers. The LinkedIn team has built a provider for the OSC using our public SDK, providing you with pictures and activity information for your colleagues directly from their network. Simply click on a message from a co-worker to discover what new connections they’ve made on LinkedIn, or click the LinkedIn badge underneath a photo to jump right to a person’s profile page on the Web.
Keep watching the Outlook Team Blog for an announcement about when the LinkedIn provider is available to Outlook 2010 users. You can learn more about the LinkedIn provider here on their website.
Customize it! Does your company use a large system for managing information about its users or customers? By building an OSC provider to connect to your ERP or CRM solution, you can easily sync down people-related information into Outlook and see it in the People Pane when you’re reading your mail. Randy will have more information in his post about how to build a custom provider.
Let’s recap! The Outlook Social Connector, new to the Outlook 2010 Beta, provides you with:
On behalf of the entire Outlook Social Connector feature team, thanks for trying the Outlook 2010 Beta. Have fun using the OSC!
Michael Affronti Social Networking Addict & Outlook Program Manager
More info on the Outlook Social Connector:
The Office Show: Outlook Social ConnectorAs you wish: More about the Outlook Social ConnectorHow to install the Outlook Social Connector (video)Connect your Inbox to Facebook and Windows Live with the Outlook Social ConnectorImportant: Update your Outlook Facebook ConnectorWhat I love about the Outlook Social Connector (and why I think you'll love it too!)Boost productivity...with social media?Why Outlook is not just strictly business Get a load of this: Facebook in Outlook!Social Connector for Microsoft Outlook Video: Getting the most out of the Outlook Social Connector
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