I recently installed Office 2010 on a secondary machine at work that had a fresh install of Windows 7, and I was able to experience the Social Connector in all it’s glory against my primary corporate Exchange inbox. Very cool stuff! At the bottom of the Reading Pane, a new pane called the People Pane lives that groups all emails, attachments, and meetings you have in common with the people who are listed in the email you’, as well as items the person has published on their SharePoint 2010 MySite page. There are also other connection providers available for connecting to social networking sites LinkedIn and MySpace, and Facebook and Windows Live providers are currently in the works
The strange thing is that it wasn’t present on my primary machine, and I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on. It showed as an Add-In that was installed and running, but it wasn’t showing up at the bottom of the Reading Pane, nor was the option present on the view tab!
Turns out that there was a setting turned off in the registry. I found the post “How to use Group Policy to Enabled/Disable Outlook 2010 Social Connector (a.k.a. People Pane)” by Ben Ball, and it contained the nugget that I needed.
From Ben’s post:
However some (out of touch) IT organizations might not want this feature enabled in your organization and so there is a registry kill switch that can be controlled via group policy to enable/disable this option.
Value: RunOSC (REG_DWORD)
Data: 0 = Disabled
Data: 1 = Enabled
Sure enough, my registry had this switch off. I’m not sure what turned it off, but I have a have a feeling it wasn’t group policy that disabled it.
Just remember – don’t mess with the registry unless you back it up first, and feel comfortable enough to change settings inside it.
Enjoy the Social Connector…