Using the People Application in Windows 8

Microsoft has bundled several Metro apps along with Windows 8 Release Preview. The People app is one of them.

In fact, this app may be one of the most important and stuffed with features. It not only lists your contacts, but also acts as a social hub for all the online social services.

You simply add your online social accounts to the app, and it will bring the data of those accounts to your desktop. Now, you can interact with your social accounts directly from the desktop, through the People app.

To launch the app, click on its tile on the Start Screen. If you have already connected to any of the social accounts, then the main page lists the contacts of those connected accounts. Otherwise, for an empty app, the main page asks you to connect to a social account.

Currently, the following social services are supported by People app.

  •   Microsoft account
  •   Outlook Mail
  •   Hotmail
  •   Google
  •   Facebook
  •   Twitter
  •   LinkedIn

Connecting to a Service

Let us take an example of a Facebook account. . The welcome screen of the app prompts you to connect to various online services. Select Facebook from the list of services.

An inline webpage frame launches, which initiates the connection to Facebook.

The so loaded page informs you what you can do and what data you share after you connect your Facebook account to Windows 8. Click on “Connect” button to move on.

The resulting page asks for Facebook credentials.

Enter the credentials and click “Log In”. Facebook will authenticate the credentials.

Facebook asks for the final confirmation to give permission to Windows 8 to access your account data.

Facebook lists what data Windows will be able to access if you give permission. Click on “Allow” if you are happy with giving access to Microsoft. This will connect the Facebook account to your Windows 8 account.

The final page of the setup informs you that the connection is successful. Behind the scenes, the People app would already have begun to fetch your Facebook contacts and their details.

Thus, you are connected to Facebook account. The connection process to other accounts is more or less the same – a welcome instruction screen, enter credentials, give permission to Windows to access the data, and you are done.

Sections of People App

The data retrieved by the People app from various services is divided into three sections.

People Section

This section shows an aggregated contact list of your online accounts. Selecting a contact from the list will show their profile information.

You can filter the displayed contacts to show only online contacts, from the context menu of the section. Also, you can add a new contact through the “New” button on the context menu.

What’s New Section

This section shows the latest activities of your contacts. For example

  • You can see the news feed of your Facebook account. The feed is an aggregation of the posts shared by your contacts.
  • You can also view the latest tweets posted by your Twitter contacts.

Through the context menu, you can filter this section to show content from a single service, instead of showing a mix-up from all the accounts.

Also, this section doesn’t show static content. You can like or comment on a Facebook post. Similarly, you can favorite, retweet or reply to a tweet.

Me Section

This section lists the details of your online profiles as well as your latest updates posted on the accounts.

You can see your latest tweets, Facebook posts, or your photo albums in this section. Also, you can view notifications of your accounts in this section.

Search through People

People app implements the Search harm to provide search function within the app. You can search contacts by their names.

When I searched for the term “meego”, the result listed 3 contacts containing the search term.

Settings Charm

This charm in the People app simply shows the accounts that the app is connected to. Also, it provides you an option to add a new social account.

I am currently connected to 4 social accounts. I can add another account by clicking on “Add an Account”, which will guide me through a new connection process.

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