Microsoft announced a new feature of Office 2010 Beta that’ll integrate information from social networks into Outlook email program. Professional network LinkedIn will be the first site to provide a connector for Outlook Social Connector early next year. The feature’ll let people track activities of their LinkedIn connections, email them, and send invitations to connect from within a new “People Pane” inside Outlook. It’ll also work with networks from Microsoft’s own Windows Live and SharePoint 2010. It notes that other social networks will also be able to build similar connections into Microsoft email program. The functionality looks similar in some respects to the tool offered by Seattle-based Gist, a Paul Allen-backed company, to bring together messages and information from a variety of social networks and email providers, including Outlook and LinkedIn. For developers starting today, the Outlook Social Connector SDK is also available for download on MSDN.
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