Microsoft Goes Social with Outlook, LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace

I guess it you don’t play the social game, you’re sitting in the bleachers watching everyone else play. Microsoft is announcing its plans and a first step towards integrating social networks into Outlook. Using the Outlook Social Connector and partnerships with LinkedIn, Facebook, and MySpace, the idea is to bring your social network (and all that that entails) into Outlook.

To get things rolling, there is a beta of LinkedIn for Outlook that you can give a try if you’re running the Beta of Office 2010, Office 2007, or Office 2003.  If you’re an Office 2010 Beta user the Outlook Social Connector is baked in, but it looks like you still need to download the Beta bits for this LinkedIn hook up at the link above.

According to the site the LinkedIn connection allows you to:

  • Connect to your LinkedIn account to view your colleagues’ status updates and photos next to an e-mail message they sent you.
  • Your colleagues’ latest contact information from LinkedIn automatically updates his or her Outlook contact. Whenever someone changes a phone number, e-mail address, or other contact details, it’s automatically updated in Outlook — you are always up to date.
  • Synchronize your mobile phone with Outlook to stay up-to-date — you don’t have to worry about keeping track of new phone numbers and contact info — contacts’ information from the Web is synchronized to your mobile phone.
  • Grow your professional network directly from within your Inbox — add colleagues with one click.

Facebook and MySpace integration will be coming soon.