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Author: Sam Kurien
•2:52 PM
Google tends to have an image of being the better design and engineering company than Microsoft, well think again. I just tried the Microsoft Outlook's Social Connector and I think it beats Google Buzz hands-down. Email as the from of communication is recognized as losing its central role with the social networking sits and their integration to our daily lives. So, we see Google/Microsoft camps vying with the ideas like google wave, buzz and now microsoft's outlook connector all eyeing to bridge the gap by allowing their end users to upload and download info from anywhere.  The Outlook Social Connector works with Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010. Google Buzz has received a very underwhelming response, has been confusing in terms of following and unfollowing (Google's lame attempt in trying to catch the twitter idea in email), and privacy concerns which spawned a lawsuit against Google. A mis-step from a company known for its premier engineering.

Contrastingly the Outlook social connector is attempting to turn e-mail as the central hub of communications -  integrating social networking sites and branch notes to push and pull information. Though the beta works only with LinkedIn for the moment, facebook, mySpace and Twitter will follow suit. Though currently it lacks all the feature sets of Xobin add-in for Outlook, I doubt Microsoft will lag behind in turning the heat of the battle.
Is it perfect? Far from it. Right now, communication is one-way, so that you can't update your LinkedIn status from inside Outlook. And the Outlook Social Connector lacks other nifty features that Xobni Outlook add-in has. One of the best feature seems to be  Microsoft's approach to bring all office based softwares integrated centrally in an organization's so solution delivery can be customized easily (scaled up or down) seems to be solid working strategy that business's will adopt. For example the OSC 2010 will conect by default to Sharepoint 2010 and for that matter all MS-Office suites and products and even the live versions of the same.

Check out the following link for more information on Michael Affronti's post @ Microsoft. A solid foundational step from Microsoft in the social networking realm will give Google a run for their money or at least drive their stock down by ten cents.

Cheers,

Sam Kurien
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