Google did it with Gmail and Buzz to a resounding silence. Now Microsoft is integrating the upcoming Outlook 2010 with the social network by way of the Outlook Social Connector, now available in beta. Rather than building their own social network, Microsoft is partnering with market leaders like LinkedIn. Here's the scoop.

We didn't report on it, but Microsoft announced this move was coming way back in November 2009. Now, if you're running the Office 2010 Beta, you can give Outlook Social Connector a whirl for yourself. Right now, only business social network LinkedIn is compatible, but Microsoft has promised connectivity with Facebook and MySpace in the near future.

So what's the benefit? Well, at least with LinkedIn, received e-mails will automatically show the sender's photo and status updates; when your contacts change their LinkedIn information it's automatically reflected locally; it aids phone synchronization with your contacts list; and it allows you to add people on LinkedIn with but a click from your inbox.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not convinced that social networking in the workplace is a good thing. LinkedIn is one thing -- but Facebook is quite another. The only "benefit" I can see springing from that is that it would enable employees to look like they're working while they're checking status feeds.

Of course, I'm not myself an MSP. If you've deployed social networking to an enterprise with any kind of success, drop me a line at matt [at] ninelivesmedia.com or on Twitter at MattNLN. I want to hear the other side of this argument.