Microsoft Outlook To Become More LinkedIn

Professional social network LinkedIn is showing a little Microsoft love today. In conjunction with the announcement of the beta of Microsoft’s Office 2010 at its Professional Developer Conference, LinkedIn and Microsoft have partnered to offer an add-on that integrates much of your LinkedIn contact information with your Outlook contacts.

The add-on to Outlook will provide professional and social context to any Outlook users everyday email experience. When you received an email from a contact who happens to be a member of LinkedIn, Outlook will show a collapsible pane that will show information on what the contact’s latest activity is on Linkedin.

So in Outlook, you’ll be able to see a picture of contacts (pulled from their Linkedin profile), who they have recently connected to on the network, and any status updates they’ve posted on the site. The add-on will also show you the most recent professional information about a contact, including the most recent job and city that he or she lives in. And if you aren’t connected with a contact on LinkedIn, you can easily invite him to connect within Outlook (but you cannot accept invitations yet; this feature will be included in the future).

The other bonus of the add-on is the synchronization between Outlook and LinkedIn contacts. Outlook will bring automatically consolidate information for existing contacts who are LinkedIn contacts and new LinkedIn contacts. Plus, you can send messages to a LinkedIn contact directly from Outlook. And if a contact in Outlook changes any contact information within LinkedIn, Outlook will automatically be updated too.

The add-on will ship with Microsoft 2010, but can be downloaded to work with Outlook 2003, and 2007. While social network has a Outlook toolbar that has been available for some time, this appears to be the first major partnership between LinkedIn and Microsoft.

LinkedIn’s Director of Product Development, Elliot Shmukler says that the fundamental idea behind the product is to bring the value of LinkedIn to where professionals do their work and Outlook has a fundamentally professional userbase. LinkedIn also partnered with IBM’s Lotus Notes and Xobni, providing a similar integration. But what about Google Apps? Shmukler declined to comment directly on a potential partnership but did say that there will be future integrations with additional email clients in the near future.

The past few weeks have seen a few key partnerships for LinkedIn. The connection with Microsoft is a huge, considering the widespread user of Microsoft Outlook in professional environments. LinkedIn also recently launched integration with Twitter, enabling Tweets to be sent from LinkedIn’s platform and more.