There are few areas of any ‘traditional’ communications outlets anymore that are just that outlet alone these days. In fact, finding a standalone product that doesn’t integrate with your Facebook account, for instance, is becoming more rare.
Now you can add Microsoft’s Outlook to that list as Facebook integration is complete and being rolled out according to Mashable
Microsoft is announcing today that it has integrated Facebook and Windows Live Messenger into Outlook, bringing the streams of millions of Facebook users into inboxes across the world.
Last year, Microsoft launched Outlook Social Connector, a plugin that syncs social networking feeds with your Outlook contacts, giving you immediate data on what they are doing and thinking. It started last year with LinkedIn integration, but soon the company announced MySpace and Facebook were coming.
Today, Outlook completes the cycle with not only Facebook integration, but support for Windows Live Messenger as well. Not only that, but the company is releasing the plugin for Outlook 2003 and 2007 users as well, bringing Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and Windows Live Messenger to millions of business and personal inboxes worldwide.
As with anything that has layers of information it is best to see the video version of the explanation be sure to check it out over at the Mashable site. Here is a look at a screen shot as well.
Here’s my take. I don’t use Microsoft Outlook anymore so obviously this is not directly impacting me. I did use it in the past, however, and there’s reason to think that there could be another time in the future. Having said that I am pretty ambivalent on the whole e-mail and social integration craze. Google has tried it and it’s not going so well. That doesn’t mean this won’t work but at what point is enough enough?
E-mail for me is more of a business function than it is a social one. Of course, the idea of having more information about who you are e-mailing could produce something of use but fighting through the clutter to find it takes time that I may not want to give during the day. Also, what if you are just beginning a business relationship with someone and they simply share too much in their social world and you get a serious case of TMI (too much information)? As with all of these social interactions there is a double-edged sword effect that can do great good and /or great harm all at once.
So while there is potential here I think, like anything else, it will come down to personal preferences. What do you think?