Microsoft's Outlook Social Connector, adding Facebook and Windows Live support to the existing LinkedIn and Myspace support, is available for download. Specific connectors are available here. Social Connector adds information such as recent conversations and shared appointments from within Outlook, plus profile and status update information from social networks. It's quite similar to some of functionality provided by the third party plugin Xobni.The new version of
As we noted when Social Connector was first announced, the service is currently one-way - you can't update your status from Outlook with it - and is not only opt-in, but you specifically have to download a plugin to use it.
Social Connector only pulls publicly available information. If your photo and job title are connected to a supported public profile associated with the e-mail address you're sending from, Social Connector users (and users of other services like Xobni and SenderOK) will see that information attached to e-mails. That's something you should consider when deciding what information to make public on social profiles.
Regarding the similarities between Social Connector and Xobni, Terra Carmichael, Head of Communications at Xobni, said "The core of our product is in how we make it insanely easy to search for people or information in your inbox. Xobni is really about helping people find information and contacts quickly, and then giving them a full view of their relationship with that person, including threaded conversations, shared connections, Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn updates and information." Carmichael added "We have a full pipeline of announcements coming out in 2010 that includes additional platforms and top requested product features."
Those looking for something similar to Outlook Social Connector in Gmail should look at Rapportive, which also brings in LinkedIn data and recent Tweets from users. We raved about it earlier this year.
We've written before that e-mail plugins are hot. E-mail is a still a crucial part of any enterprise's workflow, and even though it's been around for about 44 years companies are still finding ways to improve upon it.