Microsoft has launched Outlook Social Connector, a tool that allows Facebook users to view the social networking site as they use their emails.
The plug-in allows people to view status updates, wall posts and photos alongside emails, as well as add friends using the Outlook People Pane. Updates are available in real time, but there is no option to update information through Outlook at present.
Outlook Social Connector offers busy people the convenience of accessing social networks through Outlook, according to a blog post by Paco Contreras Herrera, group product manager for Microsoft Office.
"Working closely with key partners including Facebook, our goal is to help you stay in touch with the people you care about and to simplify your daily routine," he said.
"We built Outlook Social Connector with privacy and security in mind. The information people share is a personal choice, so it's up to you to determine what you share and with whom."
Email addresses are 'hashed' in order to protect privacy, and information from a social network available in Outlook is shown based on a person's privacy settings for the social network, explained Microsoft in an Outlook Social Connector and Privacy statement.
The plug-in has been extended to work with Outlook 2003 and 2007, and has supported LinkedIn and MySpace since last winter.
Outlook Social Connector is available in 19 languages, with more to be added on an ongoing basis, and can be downloaded from the Microsoft Download Centre. Outlook 2010 users can get the plug-in through Microsoft Update.
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