Big news out of LinkedIn headquarters—the next version of Microsoft Office will include LinkedIn integration by way of the Outlook Social Connector. For Outlook users, that’s good news, since it means they’ll no longer have to complete an additional download to sync with LinkedIn.
The Outlook Social connector will give users access to photos, contact information and LinkedIn profile details without having to leave Office. That sort of integration is huge, especially across the enterprise. You may not think this is a big deal, but for tons of enterprise-level LinkedIn users, this integration removes a barrier to using the social networking service and makes access infinitely easier.
“You just have to sign in once with your LinkedIn credentials and immediately you’ll start seeing rich profile information, like photos and LinkedIn network activity for any connection that emails you,” writes LinkedIn’s David Breger. “You’ll also see LinkedIn profile data surface when you view a People Card throughout the new Office experience.”
After all, it makes sense to connect a professional networking platform with email, since that’s where so much conversation takes place. And Breger’s description makes us think the functionality will be similar to Rapportive, which we’re already huge fans of—and find incredibly useful when it comes to making new connections (and catching up with our existing networks).
And let’s face it—this is an important step (and a no-brainer) for LinkedIn. They’re motivated to not only attract new users, but to keep users active on the network. The easier they make that for users, whether they’re networking, prospecting, recruiting or job searching, the better. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on LinkedIn’s usage data once the Outlook feature is live to see how it impacts the site’s user base.
Additional features are in the works, too, including a new LinkedIn for Outlook application for Microsoft’s newly opened Office app store.
Outlook users, what say you? Are you excited about this news? And does the social connector functionality make you want to buy the new version of Microsoft Office more quickly?
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