Friday, September 03, 2010

Downloading Facebook Profile Pictures to Outlook Contacts

Microsoft Office 2010 introduced the Social Connectors. With the Facebook Connector, emails now come with faces, thanks to the connector downloading profile pictures from Facebook. Opening contact items shows faces as well.

The next logical step is to use that contact item’s profile picture as the business card picture. However, no matter how I click-and-drag the picture over to the placeholder, nothing happens. Searching the Internet yields a program called OutSync. However, it managed to only download 3 profile pictures to my Outlook. Looking at its source code revealed the reason – it compares the full name on Facebook and Outlook. Since most of my Facebook friends registered only with their first names or initials, OutSync failed to match them to my Outlook contacts.

So now I have a problem that seems to be easily solvable. I thought I could change OutSync such that it will download email addresses of my friends and match them with my Outlook. However, Facebook always return null for emails.

Another approach is necessary. and in the end, I wrote a program – Outbook – that matches email addresses of Facebook and Outlook. It does so by running multiple search requests, downloading the information of the search results, then downloading the photos.

PS: As I’m running on Windows 7 64-bit and Office 2010 64-bit, I cannot promise that it will work on other OS and Office versions.

Download the application here: