Plaxo is mashing up its Pulse social network with Microsoft Outlook, allowing users to get a grip on their friends' online activities on Pulse directly from their e-mail clients.
Launched Dec. 11, the refreshed Plaxo Toolbar for Microsoft Outlook, which synchronizes users' Plaxo address book to their Microsoft Outlook address book, now allows users to catch up with users through Pulse.
Users may check their friends' Pulse activities through Plaxo's Click-to-Connect box and Outlook's Contacts Detail view, said John McCrea, vice president of marketing for Plaxo.
For example, users will be able to see what a fellow Pulse member is sharing on blogs and social sites such as Digg, Twitter, del.icio.us, Flickr, Yelp, click over to see a person's full profile and content stream on Pulse, and grow their Pulse network via Outlook.
The idea, McCrea said, is to let users know what is top of mind for their friends, family or colleagues on Pulse from the application that "knowledge workers spend half of their time on these days."
This mashup builds on previous click-to-connect activities, which allow users to "Google" someone, call up a map or directions and make a VOIP (voice over IP) call on a phone with a single click.
McCrea told eWEEK the toolbar is an example of how socially fueled tools and content are "turbo-charging applications," steering the market to a social Web.
He credited developer platforms from Facebook and Google's OpenSocial effort, of which Plaxo is a member, with igniting this effort.
However, while those applications were created to connect users with the "social graph," the Plaxo Toolbar for Microsoft Outlook brings a social element to productivity tools
McCrea said that it's a tool that leverages the different approach behind Pulse. While Facebook lets users connect with friends and LinkedIn lets users connect with colleagues, Pulse lets users share content from Digg, Flickr, del.icio.us, and several other social networks.
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