Microsoft planning Facebook chat integration for Office 15

By Tom Warren, on 17th Mar 11 4:37 pm with 3 Comments

Microsoft is planning Facebook chat integration straight into its next-generation Office 15.

The software giant posted a job listing this week that describes a new feature in Office 15:

“For Office 15 we’re building new products to deliver integration of instant messaging/presence with social networks such as Facebook. In addition, develop Lync XMPP server to deliver seem less interoperation with other XMPP based IM/Presence/Conferencing solutions.”

Microsoft’s Facebook chat integration follows a similar social networking plugin released as part of Office 2010. ZDNet, who spotted the job posting, speculates that the integration wouldn’t be that useful. However, the social integration straight into products like Outlook and Lync will be of interest to some businesses and a cause for concern for others. Large corporations tend to block social networking sites like Facebook and having them baked straight into their primary productivity application could be troublesome. Consumers would likely welcome the change if implemented well. Imagine using Outlook as your main tool for communication with the added bonus of full social integration.

The first Office 15 screenshots began to leak this week, including additional Outlook screenshots that reveal Microsoft is planning to implement a Metro UI across its next Office product. Screenshots leaked earlier this week from an Microsoft Office 15 Milestone 2 build 15.0.2703.1000. Microsoft appears to be considering implementing a Metro UI in its Office suite. In the Milestone 2 build, Outlook has been updated with the Metro UI at the foot of the application to provide simple switching between different functions. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and OneNote do not contain the Metro UI yet.

The screenshots also revealed a more flattened user interface within Outlook. Microsoft’s Outlook UI no longer seems cluttered and provides users with direct access to their mail in a simple and yet familiar way. Microsoft’s Metro design language is an internal code name for a typography-based design languages created and used by the company. Microsoft originally started using Metro in Media Center and showcased a full version in the company’s Zune products. Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system, Windows Phone 7, also features the Metro look and feel throughout. Microsoft has started to use the Metro UI on more of its web properties to produce a clean, fast and simple look.

It was recently revealed that Office 15 had reached the Milestone 2 phase of development. Office 15 screenshots began to appear over the weekend. Little is known about the new features included in Office 15 but WinRumors understands Microsoft is planning an improved meeting system and OWA enhancements for the next generation of Office. The company is seeking to employ an Outlook software development engineer at its corporate headquarters in Redmond, Washington. “We are now going to take OWA to the next level and build the next generation clients for desktop and the latest mobile and slate devices,” said a recent the job listing. “The next generation client will include world class messaging, contacts, calendaring and social collaboration for both enterprise and cloud, and will use the latest in web technology.”

Microsoft is believed to be readying Office 15 for the 2012 time-frame.

  • http://twitter.com/Nero3000 Neerav Patel

    Along with collaboration on documents introduced in 2010, I think instant messaging in the document (via a corporate friendly Lync server) is the next logical step.

    If only my company wasn’t 5 years behind.

  • http://Pureinfotech.com Pureinfotech

    I am also wondering if this new integration of Office 15 with Facebook will also have any connection to docs.com, which is a new service from Microsoft Fuse Labs to create and share Office documents online using Facebook?

    Thanks,

  • Zeke009

    As long as this Facebook crap is forced upon me or I have to work around a useless button that will never be activated I don’t care. Add it as an option if I choose to use it or want to see it, but do not make me stare at a dead button or ask me to enable it upon each launch.