"Reaction [beta]"

Microsoft Outlook: A social network just waiting to happen? 24 Sep 2008

Harvard Business blogger John Sviokla makes an interesting point about how Microsoft is missing a great opportunity to take hold of the social networking market:

"Microsoft's Outlook may be the world's Rolodex, but they have not figured out how to link up all the latent connections that sit inside our Outlook address books. Put another way, they have the ends of the network, but don't know how to tie them together!

"In your email is a latent network of most of the people you know, and how often you talk with them. The Outlook add on - not made by Microsoft - called Xobni (pronounced ZOBNEE, and named for Inbox spelled backwards) looks through all the mail on your machine and figures out who knows whom by who is copied on which emails. In other words, your emails naturally contain your social network. It would be easy for Microsoft to simply ask your permission to contact the people in your email list, and Outlook contact database, and ask them if they were willing to join your Microsoft social network."

Genius! If Microsoft implemented this idea and managed to do something similar with Hotmail, LinkedIn and Facebook might have something to worry about at last.

Scott Berkun notes that Sviokla's ideas could be applied by the mobile phone industry too. A notion that makes perfect sense when you consider that our cell phones know who we call, when we call them, how long we speak to them for and so on. More loose ends that could easily be tied together. Maybe a companies like Vodafone, ATT, Nokia and LG will come to rule social networking 2.0 then (?)

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