Microsoft Outlook to be Integrated with LinkedIn

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft is trying to harness the power of social networking for its own connectivity tool, email program Outlook. But rather than start its own network, Microsoft is aiming for an easier way to manage existing accounts.

The firm has announced a beta program to integrate LinkedIn directly with Outlook. It's also announced partnerships are in the works for both Facebook and Twitter.

LinkedIn is a primarily business-oriented tool for tracking networks. As well as acting like an online resume, it's designed for people to be able to make new business contacts through shared contacts. The site also allows members to make comments about other members who they have done business with, serving as a form of endorsement.

Deal Makes Use of Social Connector Tool

The site will feature in the Outlook Social Connector tool, a new feature in Office 2010. It's designed to bring together information from different accounts so that, for example, if you have exchanged both emails and social networking messages with a contact, all the information will appear on your Outlook page for that contact. (Source:

At the moment the Social Connector doesn't allow you to access the social networking sites directly through Outlook, meaning that although you can see previous messages from a contact, you can only use Outlook to email them.

The integration will change, eventually; Outlook users will be able to access their LinkedIn accounts directly without having to visit the site. It's not yet known if the partnerships with other sites will work in exactly the same way. (Source:

Business Response Uncertain

It will be interesting to see how businesses respond to the Outlook additions.

Recent surveys have shown that even among firms who don't block access to sites such as Facebook, there's a fear that employees run security risks by visiting the sites on a work machine. Previous studies have also suggested some managers believe staff waste too much time on such sites.

With Outlook a widely respected tool, it's hard to tell how managers will react to staff using it for personal social networking -- if indeed they even notice, given that users won't have to visit specific websites.

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