Microsoft's "Office Social Connector" (aka Facebook Connect for Outlook) is Great


But tying together the web's most visited site (Facebook) with arguably the most important communication platform (email) is both natural and a long time coming. And with this week's announcement of Microsoft's 'Outlook Social Connector' , your social graph can now be connected to Outlook's email, contact and calendaring systems. The plugin is essentially Facebook Connect within Microsoft Outlook and it is a natural, powerful and simple integration. The Social Connector pulls in Facebook profile information from those email correspondents: Facebook icon, profile link, metadata and the ability to add them either as a Facebook friend and/or Outlook contact. More importantly, you can synchronize contacts with Outlook and enrich your already existing contacts.

In addition to providing data / actions around each contact, the Connector aggregates communication history for correspondent's. Its navigation pane allows you to toggle between: - aggregated / commingled communication history - meeting history - attachments - Facebook activity feeds

Lastly, Microsoft has opened the platform with "a public SDK allows anyone to build a connection to business or consumer social networks"... which means that this can become more than just Facebook (ie LinkedIn, Yelp, Crunchbase, etc). And although developers are currently enamored with Apple and Google, email - and specifically Outlook - represent significant usage, relatively light application competition, and therefore a beacon of opportunity. And despite being (supposedly) difficult to develop against, this should attract significant developer attention.