The LinkedIn Outlook Social Connector adds a new pane to Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010, showing you the latest LinkedIn activity from any of your contacts who sends you an email.

Click on an email from anyone and you'll see their profile photo in the LinkedIn page, as long as it's already stored in your Outlook contacts list (the connector doesn't appear able to access it from LinkedIn). If they're not currently a LinkedIn contact then you can send an invitation in a couple of clicks. And if they're already in your network, then you can zoom in on more information about them via a simple tabbed interface.

Their LinkedIn news feed and status updates are available at a click, for instance. You can also view emails you've exchanged, attachments you've received from them, and meetings you've had (as long as they were scheduled in Outlook). It's all very convenient, and much quicker than searching your entire Outlook database.

The LinkedIn Outlook Connector is based around Microsoft's Outlook Social Connector, so if you're running Outlook 2003 or 2007 then you must install that first from the Microsoft site. But don't worry if you forget, the LinkedIn Outlook Connector setup program will detect the missing files and automatically open a browser window at the appropriate download page.

Verdict

A simple but effective way to track your contacts' LinkedIn news