When I was going through the new Wave 4 beta stuff I downloaded the Microsoft Outlook Connector and installed [actually] by mistake.
I didn’t actually realize what it was until I restarted Microsoft Outlook. It’s Microsoft’s attempt to generate a Xobni clone straight from the clanging bowels of Microsoft.
It’s an initial offering to attempt to keep the non-Xobni users of the world quasi-happy with Microsoft Outlook. The problem is that it’s got a cheapness about it and not well thought out.
Okay, so the best offering right now is Xobni for a true aggregation of information about the people you deal with, who they’re connected to and so on… It’s a great tool, but since Microsoft tried, and failed, to purchase Xobni in 2008; Microsoft has come out with their own offering of a social connector for Microsoft Outlook. And it’s lame.
It places a small bar at the bottom of the message window; bad choice- there’s not a lot of real estate to begin with… To make matters worse, it can get bigger. Now we’ve complete failure. With an inbox listing open, the preview pane and the Connector open; you can only see just a few lines of the email at all…
What they were trying to do is Xobni, but Xobni is a separate application. It indexes the all the emails and information in a completely separate function.
With Microsoft Outlook Connector the responsiveness of the plug-in or add-on is slow; it tries to do the research as soon as you click the contact and that’s too long.
Microsoft Outlook is Microsoft’s product and with this release they’re stating this is the best we can do with Microsoft Outlook; very sad indeed.
I believe this could’ve been compressed and placed in the header bar right above the email preview. I believe they were trying to hard to copy Xobni.
Icon listing Tries to pull as much information about each category it offers. From the icons, there’s HOME, RSS, Attachments, Meetings and Status Updates.
I was really expecting more from this plug-in, but it’s supposed to be a beta, so we’ll see where this goes..
If you like the idea of a Xobni solution and you’re not using Microsoft Outlook, maybe using Thunderbird from Mozilla, you can attempt SocialMail; to see if it fits your taste. It’s a very nice free alternative to Xobni for Thunderbird.
If Microsoft is going to complete in this arena, they’re going to have to work A LOT on getting connected with more social networks, working on performance and also looking at smartly using real estate in the Microsoft Outlook application. But if you don’t mind waiting, this isn’t a bad choice.
Until next time,