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Microsoft Outlook gets a 'Pulse'

Plaxo links Pulse social network to Outlook e-mail client, taking social networking to the desktop

By Heather Havenstein
December 11, 2007 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - Plaxo Inc. has created a mashup that will inject information from a user's Plaxo Pulse social network into Microsoft Outlook communications.

The company today unveiled the Plaxo Toolbar for Microsoft Outlook. The tool will allow Pulse users who are addressing new e-mails in Outlook to see whether the addressee recently updated vacation photos to Flickr or posted information about a new hobby on Facebook.

John McCrea, Plaxo's vice president of marketing, said the integration of Pulse and Outlook is a way to infuse the benefits of social networking into business relationships.

"Since I am about to communicate with you [in Outlook], it may be interesting for me to know what is on your mind," McCrea said. "Showcasing the mashup between social networking and Outlook helps people think about this stuff not so much as fun but as fundamental. If I am in the midst of trying to win a $10 million-deal and need to send an e-mail … knowing what is on the mind of that person is now not just a frivolous bit of information, but is something I could leverage. That is the stuff of real networking."

The mashup allows users to do the following:

• To see what a person is sharing on a several sites, including blogs, Digg, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flickr, Yelp and others.
• To see a person's full profile and content stream on Pulse with just a click.

Users must first give their permission for this information to be shared with others, McCrea added.

Pulse users can access the new tool bar here.
Plaxo, the first company  to launch applications using Google Inc.'s OpenSocial APIs, has continued to see a surge in traffic since the APIs were released on Nov. 1, McCrea added. The number of people making social connections (defined as linking to exchange information) on Pulse jumped from 200,000 around No. 1 to 1 million on Nov. 14, McCrea noted. Since then, he added, the number has grown to more than 3 million.

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