Social Connector in Outlook 2010

This blog post is about the Social Connector in Outlook 2010 Beta, as it works with SharePoint 2010 Beta and Exchange 2010 Beta.  I just wanted to quickly share with you a couple of discoveries of mine as I play with these products.

Environment:

  • SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 are installed on one server, which is also the domain controller
  • I’ve installed Exchange 2010 on a second server, and went into group policy and set it up so that it allows everyone to log in locally.  (so I can take turns logging in as pretend users)
  • Several pretend “Contoso” users have been created in Active Directory, and their profiles have successfully been imported into SharePoint 2010.
  • I’ve logged into SharePoint as each of these pretend users, and filled in some profile information, and went through a test Team Site and tagged items, rated items, and made Note Board notes.

In Outlook 2010, there’s a Social Connector that lets you connect to your SharePoint environment.  When you select an email, at the bottom of the screen, there are a couple of little icons of gray people.  CropperCapture[66]  Click that little arrow thingy, and it will expand the People Pane.

Then, click the Add button, as seen here:CropperCapture[67]

This will bring up the screen where you can add social network accounts.  Currently in this beta version, it appears as though SharePoint 2010 is the only option.  I added the URL to my test environment:  http://moss In the future, I believe there will be more options in here, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, etc.

Anyway, the main cool thing I wanted to show you today, is the Newsfeed that I discovered in Outlook 2010.  I noticed that listed immediately after my Junk Email folder on the left side, there is a folder called Newsfeed.  So I clicked on it to see what the heck it was.

THERE is the newsfeed of all of the activities that I’m following on my MySite in SharePoint!!  Your profile on your MySite in SharePoint 2010 lets you follow all of the following activities.  Hmmm, I thought the only place the followed activities were displayed was the My Network page on the MySite.  Apparently this feed is in Outlook also.  Bonus!

This is what it looks like, and you can click the image to get a closer look:

CropperCapture[65]

This is the “Molly Clark” mailbox on the Contoso domain.  I clicked News Feed on the left.  This feed lists all of the activities that Molly is following.  When I click on an item, the reading pane shows me the following:

  • A user named Sean Chai rated a document with a 4 of 5
  • There is a link to the document, which is called “Test Move.docx”
  • People Pane: Since Sean has uploaded a picture of himself on his MySite, this picture is displayed here.

The little green plus under Sean’s picture allows you to add him to one of your social networks.  The Office icon is a link directly to his MySite.  Each time you receive emails in your inbox, you’ll be able to use the plus icon to add people who aren’t already in your social networks.

8 comments

  • kevin@dostalek.com

    That’s cool info, I haven’t played with Outlook2010 connected to SP2010 much yet. I did do a presentation last night on how to create a custom activity gatherer for the activity feed so we should compare notes sometime as the documentation is still lacking at this point. Also, that little newsfeed folder is pulling the following RSS feed http://server/_layouts/activityfeed.aspx?consolidated=true

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  • cbuck@echotechnology.com

    some cool stuff, Laura. thanks for sharing! with tools like Townhall (and some other internal Microsoft social networking products) looking not-so-ready-for-primetime in the corporate world, it’s good to see some options that look enterprise-ready

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  • acarey@entrecs.com

    HI Laura – I came across this post as I was searching for a feature in SP 2010. Somewhat related, I want to set up an RSS Feed web part within a SP site that I am customizing. I cannt figure out why the RSS Feed web part does not appear in the Content Roll Up category. I checked Central Admin, and RSS Feeds have been enabled. Do you know why I am not seeing this RSS Feed webpart option? Any help would be appreciated. 🙂

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  • acarey, Once you enable the publishing feature on the site, it will make several more web parts available, including the RSS viewer.

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  • I just installed Office 2010 and made the connection to my Mysite/My profile where i do have a profile pic. But I dont: 1) see the pic in outlook at the bottom 2) see the Newsfeed folder in Outlook under Junk mail folder. what am i missing? thanks

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  • “Test”, I’m not sure what you’re missing. Mine just “worked”. There is a timer job on the server that sends the newsfeed information to Outlook every now and then, so you may want to just look through all timer jobs associated with the social features, and make sure they’re all on.

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  • Good post Laura. Me also having the same problem as ‘Test’. Dont : 1) see the pic in outlook at the bottom 2) see the Newsfeed folder in Outlook under Junk mail folder. So I have been reading various articles to make it work. I came to know that SP 2010 (profile Synch) must be able to write back to AD DS for the profile pics. So wondering, when you configured your Profile synchronization, did you configure your Profile Synch acct so that it has read/write permission to the AD container where your users accts are? Could you please elaborate these steps a bit? Thanks Laura!

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  • To “test”… you have to add contacts before their activities will be logged in the activity feed. Once your “sharepoint” social connection has been created, to your mysite, then click on an email from another person in your same sharepoint environment, and click the green arrow to add them. Then the activity feed will show, with that person’s activities in it. Monirk, I used the virtual machine from Microsoft’s download site, for my test sp2010 environment, so everything was already set up for me at the time that I wrote this post.

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