Facebook, MySpace Reach Integration Agreement With Microsoft For Outlook 2010
Undeterred by the firestorm of criticism over Google Buzz, Microsoft is ramping up its social efforts through new partnerships with Facebook and MySpace.
Per the deals, both Facebook and MySpace will be integrated into Outlook Social Connector -- the socially souped-up version of Microsoft's email client -- which will allow users to view friends' activities, photos, and status updates within Outlook, as well as grow their network by adding friends from the same view.
Both Facebook for Outlook and MySpace for Outlook are expected to be available later this year upon the official release of Microsoft's Office 2010.
Separately on Wednesday, Microsoft announced the public beta of LinkedIn for Outlook, which will let Office 2010 Beta users connect the OSC to a public network for the first time.
The service will allow LinkedIn users to view their colleagues' status updates and photos alongside e-mail messages.
Meanwhile, colleagues' latest contact information from LinkedIn automatically updates their Outlook contact. Whenever someone changes a phone number, e-mail address, or other contact details, it's automatically updated in Outlook.
Keenly aware of the privacy concerns that such services can raise, Microsoft is promising that the privacy and permissions settings on the Facebook and MySpace networks will be "represented and respected."
For example, if a user's profile photo and job title are publicly listed on a given network, then other OSC users will see their photo and job title when receiving an e-mail from them -- if they use that same network.
"Similarly, if you choose to restrict profile access on a given network, the OSC will respect that privacy," said Outlook product manager Dev Balasubramanian and Outlook program manager Michael Affronti in a co-authored blog post.
"The goal of the OSC is not to create another social network or set of privacy settings for you to manage, but rather to bring the networks you already value and use to the Outlook experience."
Microsoft first announced Outlook Social Connector last November, along with the beta of Microsoft Office 2010. Other social endeavors include Windows Live blog social network.
Google -- which itself has had little success in the world of social media -- continues to face criticism over Google Buzz more than a week after its debut. Despite refining the Gmail add-on's privacy settings several times, the Electronic Privacy Information Center on Tuesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over Buzz.
Earlier this month, Facebook said it would no longer run Microsoft display ads on its popular social network. The two companies did, however, agree to expand their search partnership.
The development came over three years after Microsoft announced a deal to sell ads on Facebook, and two years since it shelled out $240 million for a 1.6% stake in the top social network.
Microsoft's online services division just reported a 5% year-over-year decline -- despite the fact that Bing's market share has been up for 7 straight months -- while online ad revenue was down 2%.