So after my short bragging session back in November about being among the chosen few (although there were actually many thousands of us) to “dogfood” test the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta, it’s now clear that I am, once again, painfully mainstream.
In just seven weeks since the release of the public beta, more than 2 million copies of the trial software have been downloaded. That’s more than 40,000 downloads a day – considerably more than we saw for Office 2007.
And feedback so far from consumers and product reviews in the media has been very positive – both around user interface improvements and the new capabilities that will help drive business productivity and collaboration. But one of the most talked about new additions is the Outlook Social Connector, which will allow you stay connected to the social and business networks you use without leaving Outlook.
The Outlook Social Connector allows you to stay up to date on business and social data at your workplace – for example tracking “social” information and activity feeds from Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, such as newly posted or tagged documents, site activity, and your colleague’s status and profile updates. And more interestingly, as 3rd party social network add-ins become available over the next few months, you will also be able to see the activities of your friends and contacts from your favorite business and consumer social networks.
Exposing this kind of information directly in the inbox raises some interesting questions around the blurring of lines between work and social life. In the same way that some employers saw internet access as opening the door to a world of time-wasting temptations at the office – which is almost verbatim from a previous employer of mine, albeit many years ago now – being presented with a rich, aggregated collection of information from business and consumer social networks about the people you exchange email with could be viewed as an invitation to stray from the work at hand.
But just think of the of huge potential business value of the information and insight this information could deliver when that sender is your colleague, business partner, customer, prospect or even competitor.
So now you can work on building and keeping track of that extended business network – and your close social network – as a natural extension of your daily battle with your inbox.
Keeping your finger on the pulse – instead of letting it hover (suspiciously) over the boss button, as it were.
Check out the official Office team blog on the subject here.
Microsoft Dynamics Product Marketing