Microsoft Takes on Google with Social Outlook

Oh, no.

These days, everything feels like it’s being drip-fed social media. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, but companies are over-doing it, with the latest addition to the list of extensive-stitching-together being Outlook Social Connector.

I love the name! “Social Connector”: just as unimaginative as everything else that the horn-rimmed guys at Microsoft do.

My own anti-Microsoft sentiments aside…

What the hell is it exactly?

Look, they even use MS Word created clouds!

Look, they even use MS Word created clouds!

The Outlook Social Connector is an add-on for Outlook. 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 Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn activities.

As Microsoft explains:

First, we’re proud to announce the public beta of LinkedIn for Outlook, which will enable our millions of Office 2010 Beta users to connect the Outlook Social Connector to a public network for the first time. Second, we’re excited to announce partnerships with Facebook — the most popular social Web site in the world, and MySpace — a leading social platform connecting people through expression, content, and culture. [...]

Our vision for Outlook (and the OSC) is to provide a communications hub that is vital to both professional and personal communications; by integrating with both Facebook and MySpace, Outlook 2010 enables you to connect not only to co-workers and colleagues, but with all of your friends and family within your Outlook Inbox.

Honey, you can’t shut social media off

As the guys over at Wired note, this is fantastic for Google’s enterprise email solutions which still hasn’t introduced Buzz-like features, as companies try to stifle their employees out of social media air by blocking the networks and everything that has to do with them. Could that mean — gasp — blocking Outlook? Perhaps, or maybe companies can just take a chill pill and realize that NO ONE can really work for 9 hours straight.

LinkedIn on Outlook Social Connector

LinkedIn on Outlook Social Connector

Outlook is such a serious place (which is why I refuse, refuse, refuse to use it), and this business decision is surprising from Microsoft’s part. It would have made perfect sense with Hotmail, but Outlook? Really?

I guess the fight is on, hard. Do you think it’s Apple’s time to join next? At least we’d know that it would be a nicely designed, interesting user experience.

What do you think of this whole shoving of social media in our faces? Do you like having it in your inbox? Does it even belong in your inbox?

For more on the social media fiasco, read our post about Google Buzz.

Comments and Reactions

  • Beiruta

    Hmm… I really don't understand what the Microsoft is thinking – or if they are even thinking at all! It feels to me that jealousy from others is blinding them! Seriously? On Outlook?? Crazy!!!

  • rpgwebsolutions

    definitely google with come up with better solutions to recover.

  • M.Bamieh

    more murking the waters of decent applications with social media plugins/. it sucks

  • Amer Kawar

    I am no Microsoft fan, but this makes sense. One of the things I was most excited about with my android phone (I know I talked about it enough btw ;)) is the syncing between my Google Contacts, the Gtalk avatars and the phone itself.

    So, I can see how this might help make Outlook a bit better. But I think they need first to try and make it human friendly (for me to spend less time tech supporting friends), faster and freezes less often!

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