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Outlook socialises with Facebook and Windows Live

Outlook users can keep tabs on friends without having to change clients, as Microsoft adds more social-networking features to the email system
Written by Jack Clark, Contributor on

Microsoft has integrated Facebook contact details and status updates into Outlook along with Windows Live Messenger, making it easier to gather social information on contacts.

The update, released on Tuesday, allows information to be presented alongside emails in an Outlook pane. Users can also add contacts from Outlook into Windows Live Messenger.

Outlook 2003 and 2007 users will need to download the Outlook Social Connector, or the Facebook or Windows Live Messenger plug-ins from the Microsoft Download Center. Outlook 2010 users will receive the latest Outlook Social Connector automatically through Microsoft Update.

With this software, users can also access social information on contacts on LinkedIn and MySpace.

The company noted that Outlook Social Connector scrapes information from their networks indiscriminately and, according to a Microsoft-published page on privacy within the software, "the information from a social network that is available in Outlook is shown based upon the person's privacy settings for the social network".

As of February 2010, Outlook had a 43-percent share of the email client market, followed by Hotmail at 17 percent, Yahoo Mail at 13 percent and Gmail at five percent, according to data from Fingerprint, a company that reports on email clients.

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