capsule review

Microsoft Outlook Social Connector Folds Facebook and LinkedIn Into Outlook

At a Glance
  • Microsoft Outlook Social Connector

    PCWorld Rating

    Integrate Facebook and LinkedIn into Outlook with this free add-on from Microsoft.

Email once ruled as the supreme commander of computer-based communications, the fastest and most effective way for people to exchange messages and information. That's no longer the case; for better or worse, social networking services such as Facebook increasingly seem to be supplanting them. The free Microsoft Outlook Social Connector tries to merge the power of social networking with that of email, giving you access to the social networking services Facebook and LinkedIn from right within Outlook. To a large part, it succeeds.

Microsoft Outlook Social Connector screenshot
Microsoft Outlook Social Connector sorts your interactions by contact.
After you install the software, it integrates directly into Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010. It runs as a new pane at the bottom of Outlook's messaging window. The pane serves multiple purposes. It shows you their latest updates from LinkedIn and Facebook. Microsoft Outlook Social Connector shows all of your communications with the person--all the emails, attachments, and meetings you've had with them. It lists them by type, so that you can see all emails, for example, all meetings, all attachments, and so on. The list appears instantaneously. It's a superb tool even if you don't use the social networking part of it, because even without that, it shows your email communications with the person. It's similar to the free Xobni add-in, and not quite as powerful, because it doesn't offer Twitter support that Xobni does.

One thing missing is that you can't post updates from Outlook to social networking services--post an update to Facebook, for example. Still, Microsoft Outlook Social Connector is a very useful tool, one which every Outlook user should give a try even if they don't use social networks.

Note: This link takes you to the vendor's site, where you can download the latest version of the software. Some pages at Microsoft's site do not state that it supports Outlook 2010, but others do. PCWorld's reviewer has used this software successfully on Outlook 2010.

--Preston Gralla

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Integrate Facebook and LinkedIn into Outlook with this free add-on from Microsoft.

    Pros

    • Shows updates from Facebook and LinkedIn
    • Organizes communications by person in one place
    • Integrates into Outlook

    Cons

    • Can't post to social networks from inside Outlook
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