Microsoft continues its push towards social integration, this time by combining Facebook with the e-mail program, Outlook. A new add-on to Microsoft’s recently released Social Connector is available for immediate download, and it will allow users to see the Facebook profile photos of e-mail contacts, their news feeds, status updates, picture uploads, and wall posts.
The move is similar to the recent integration of LinkedIn on Outlook, but will have a much bigger pool to draw from thanks to Facebook’s network.
Users will be able to view incoming feeds, but will not be able to update or comment via Outlook.
“The Outlook Social Connector and providers from partners such as Facebook makes it easy and convenient for busy people to stay in touch with the people they care about.” Chris Adams, Microsoft’s Office 2010 product manager said.
Microsoft has made no secret that it wants a piece of the growing social networking pie. The recent release of the doomed Kin phones were supposed to be an integral part of that move, but slow sales killed the phones after only six weeks.
“Microsoft has always maintained that it has its own social network in Windows Messenger so it is pretty notable that it is reaching beyond its own products,” Nate Elliot, an analyst for the research firm Forrester told BBC.
Expect more moves by Microsoft to push into social networking, as some predictions suggest that by 2014, up to 20-percent of business users will use social networking services as their primary means of online communication.