Let’s face it, the 2 main constants in the working world are Blackberries when it comes to mobile and Microsoft Outlook when it comes to stationary. Withtaking over the Social world for the browsers, Outlook support is getting rather social too. Here I want to go over a bunch of useful Outlook add-ons and toolbars that can make it more social and add to overall experience.
One of the two new products (still in alpha) from Outlook extension developer TechHit. FBLook (Facebook + Outlook) is a simple toolbar add-on that integrates two key factors, (1) changing your “Status” and (2) notifications for friend requests, messages, pokes and more.
OutTwit (for Twitter)
OutTwit (Outlook + Twitter) is a little more robust than FBLook. With OutTwit you can update your Twitter status, receive friend updates, check messages, assign categories to messages, shorten URLs with [NO LONGER WORKS] TinyURL and archive/search your messages.
Next, let’s move onto the the little more robust and advanced Outlook add-ons.
The first from LinkedIn is a toolbar, but it heavily integrates with Outlook. The simple and advanced features include; updating your Outlook contacts with LinkedIn profile information, receive notifications of profile changes, one click invites, mini-profiles in the emails, updates for your “network” and more. If you really use LinkedIn and have Outlook this is a must have.
Similar Outlook add-on comes from Plaxo. Plaxo actually has slight integration with LinkedIn and you are easily able to add your LinkedIn friends to Plaxo, so it’s all a matter of which you prefer (or both). With Plaxo’s new Outlook add-on with Pulse, the new “social stream”, which integrates your “Connection’s” streams from Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Digg, etc., makes Outlook your ultimate source for following your friends and news. Like LinkedIn’s add-on, it keeps your address book up to date, but Plaxo’s also syncs your calendar, tasks and notes. This could come in handy to synchronize multiple Outlooks or even multiple calendars, like Yahoo or Google.
Xobni, which is still in private beta, but has released plenty of more invites, is a social Outlook add-on without a social network behind it. I’ve been using Xobni for several months now and I love the integration and search functions. Any email I click on, Xobni will bring up:
- nr.of emails that were sent and received from the email address (which determines their rank)
- list of all email conversations (better than Gmail)
- a list of all the attachments for the person
- broken down timelines of when I usually send/receive emails to/from that person
- automatically pulls the phone number from an email
- and the best feature is the almost instantaneous search function.
You can sign up now for an invite here.
Finally, I have to schedule conference calls several times a week. FreeConference, is the simplest and quickest way to setup a free conference call. There are paid options, but I’ve never used them. Just recently they updated their offerings with an Outlook add-on that is literally 3 clicks away from within Outlook to setup a conference call. Clicking “Schedule a Conference” brings up a Calendar Appointment with all the details, select your invitees, and hit send. All the information is automatically included with the calendar appointment.
I love Outlook and I love integration, is there something else out there for free I should be using?