Social Networking add-ons for Outlook and IE


   
Following Sarah's find of OutTwit earlier this year this last couple of weeks has seen 3 new add-ins for Microsoft apps to make them more socially network aware - specifically for Facebook. It shows a growing trend to integrate Social Networks (SN's) with commonly used applications and I expect to see more of it - both from Microsoft and 3rd parties. As Tim O'Reilly mentioned when I met him in Berlin, there is a lot more potential here - especially around Outlook which currently houses a lot of the worlds corporate data. The other app that strikes me as having a lot more potential here is Windows Live Messenger. I'd love a Facebook & Twitter tab in there.

Anyway...on to these new add-ins. 

First up is FBLook which provides a new toolbar inside Outlook where you can update your status and receive notifications. On first glance this looks pretty useful and un-intrusive.

Sadly the same can't be said of My FB Toolbar which has lots of great functionality but has too much - specifically the Yahoo search engine which I don't really need consuming additional screen real estate when I can have it in my IE search options anyway. I quickly uninstalled this one.

 

Last up is FBCal which I haven't tried yet but has potential but I would have preferred it to copy items from Facebook in to my Exchange calendar rather than create a standalone calendar. I don't have enough events in Facebook to warrant really needing this but the birthday sync is quite useful (though I get that from Fonebook already).

It's cool to see these apps/add-on's and for the most part they're pretty well written and useful. What will be interesting to see is if and when these programs start to become part of the default features of business applications from the likes of Microsoft, Apple, IBM and others. At that point, consumer software starts to blend with business software and we'll have a whole category of BUSNess software.

Comments (6)

  1. "[…] The other app that strikes me as having a lot more potential here is Windows Live Messenger. I’d love a Facebook & Twitter tab in there […]"

    I have been thinking about a Live Messenger plug-in to update your status (on Facebook, or Twitter) for a while, now…. as a I mentioned here http://www.muscetta.com/2007/10/01/facebook-implemented-a-usersetstatus-api/ I am not even the only one having thought of that…. I only never actually had time to try to CODE it… 🙁

  2. Oh, interesting, I got curious now again… what happenend to the Add-in API ? http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa905655.aspx

  3. Com uso crescente de SN’s (Social Networks) do tipo Facebook e Orkut por mais e mais usuários, recentemente

  4. Thanks Steve. But what Angus shows is the new PRESENCE API, which is a new WEB BASED API that lets you show your status on the web and do other nice things (via javascript) with your PRESENCE (=you being logged on or off) on Live Messenger.

    It IS nice, but it is completely web based.

    What I was referring to and searching for, instead, was the ADD-IN API, another API which was present in a beta of live messenger at one stage, and now it seems to have disappeared. Now THAT API, even if somewhat limited, was letting you BUILD PLUGINS (=as in extra *DLLs*) that would add their configuration tabs INSIDE of live messenger on your desktop and do all sort of things.

    It is mentioned also here http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2512305&SiteID=1

    My idea of it was a plugin that would *notice* the user changing the status message in Live Messenger (IF I remember right an event would have been fired in that case, but again… I don’t have the docs anymore and they’ve been pulled off the web) and it COULD propagate that status either to twitter or to facebook or to… whatever had another API to receive it.

    Take care!

  5. stevecla01 says:

    hi Daniele

    sorry for the misinformation.

    I’m certain the add-in stuff is out there and can be done as I was just last week using Twessenger which is a DLL add-in to Messenger. check it out at http://kunal.kundaje.net/twessenger/

    Steve

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