Outlook has a new tool, the Outlook Social Connector. It's main purpose is to scour social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Myspace looking for feed info on the persons listed in the email. It's second purpose, and this is the important one, is to scour your indexed outlook items and display them in the OSC box below the email preview, in an open email, or in an open contacts form.
Outlook Gets Social
The social network scouring tool is pretty neat, and can even be useful. It will find whatever info you have permission for on people that email you. This usually means that you can at least see their picture, and sometimes you can see a lot of stuff if they aren't really proficient at setting their FaceBook or other site privacy settings. The obvious warning here is check your damn privacy settings! I and an army of experts say that constantly, but it's clear that a lot of you don't do it. Also, be aware that certain things like your profile pic on FB are ALWAYS public and if you send business email using the account you signed up for Facebook with, chances are your business contacts using Outlook 2010 have already seen your profile pic of you chugging beer at the club.The upside is that if you are a single business person, you'll now know which of your anonymous business contacts are in need of being extra nice to.
Outlook Gets (Even More) Useful
While the social part of the OSC may not be that useful to most business users, the second feature absolutely is! Outlook 2007 and 2010 have built in indexing when used with Vista or 7. Outlook 2003 and/or Windows XP users can add (almost as useful) indexing by installing Windows Search 4 (from here). While indexed searcing is GREAT, what OSC does is as great if not better. In the OSC screen cap above, notice the tabs along the left of my Facebook feed? Those tabs gather together previous emails, notes, calendar items, and most importantly (for me anyway) attachments related to the contact. Very useful feature. See how easy it is to find old attachments in this pic below? Much faster than with an indexed search.
Not Just for Outlook 2010
The OSC comes with Outlook 2010, but luckily it is also a free download for Outlook 2003 or 2007. first make sure you have indexing installed (see above) then get the osc here. Once you have the connector installed, you'll also need plugins for your networks. The existing ones are: Facebook, MySPace, and LinkedIn.
If you need help installing any of these, please don't hesitate to put in a support ticket or contact me.