The Outlook Social Connector for Facebook is now available for download. This connector pumps Facebook wall feeds into Outlook for the sender of the selected email message and also within their Contact page. It’s usefulness is apparent as relevant and timely information is presented with the contact. It only displays the information which it authorized to view.
Similarly, the Outlook Social Connector for Windows Live Messenger is also available for download. This presents Windows Live feeds into Outlook for the selected contact.
Note when installing any of the Outlook Connectors you’ll need to match the architecture of Outlook with the architecture of the plug-in. For example, if you have 64-bit Outlook installed, then you’ll need the 64-bit version of the connectors installed, otherwise they will not work. At the time of this posting, the connectors for LinkedIn and MySpace do not support the 64-bit platform of Outlook.
While adding these connectors to your Outlook is helpful for you, it also potentially exposes your information to others who have installed the connector. If you don’t want your Facebook wall appearing in the Outlook of others you email, you need to ensure that your privacy and email settings are secure. Even if you don’t use Outlook, there will be someone with whom you communicate with, directly or indirectly, that does use Outlook and thus it is imperative to monitor your Facebook privacy settings. I would safely assume other email readers will soon offer the same integration so I suggest that you follow these security practices below.
Choose Your Privacy Settings
In Facebook, under the Account menu, select Privacy Settings and click Friends Only under the Sharing on Facebook section. This will limit reading of your information to only those you have selected to be your friends. Click On Apply These Settings to make your changes permanent.
Info accessible through your friends
Now make sure that your friends are not sharing your information. On the same Privacy Settings page, under the section Applications and Websites, click on Edit your settings. Then, click on the Edit Settings button in the Info accessible through your friends section. This dialog will present a list of things you permit your friends to share about you. I would suggest ensuring nothing is selected. Click on Save Changes to enhance your security settings. I would also suggest disabling instant personalization on partner websites under the Instant Personalization section.
It appears that the Outlook Connector for Facebook searches all the email addresses you have for the selected contact to determine the Facebook account (or other Social Connector accounts). If you want to associate Facebook posts with your contacts, you will need to ensure one of the email addresses you have for that contact is associated to your Facebook friend. If not, even though your contact and you are connected on Facebook, you will not see that person’s wall feed in Outlook. If you do add a new email address for a Contact to associate it with the Facebook friend, you will need to restart Outlook for the Connector to be aware of the new email address and display wall postings.
To secure your own information, I suggest using an email account for Facebook that is not the same as the one you typically use to correspond. And please do not use a work email address on Facebook; that will make it much too easy for your personal and professional lives to collide.
If you only have one email address, get another one from Gmail and set that to be the primary (and only) email account on Facebook. Then forward the email you received on the newly created Gmail account to your regular account so you won’t miss out on any Facebook updates.
Finally, if you don’t want any of your friends to get your feeds, hide the Facebook email address. People can still send a direct message to you in Facebook without knowing your email address. To hide your email from everyone, go to the Privacy Settings page, selected from the Account menu. Click on the tiny Customize settings link near the bottom of the main section. At the bottom of the Customize settings page, under Contact information, click on the drop down next to your email address and select Customize. In the drop down under Make this visible to These people select Only Me. This will hide your email address from all Facebook users and make it difficult for others to configure their Outlook Facebook Connector to integrate your posts with their email.