Microsoft has decided to make Windows 8 a central hub for your online social activities and networks.

As a part of that effort, Messaging app handles one of the most popular online activity – chatting.

To launch the app, click on its tile on the Start Screen.

Add an Account

Following the design principles of Windows 8 apps, Messaging works in conjunction with the People app. In fact, it gels so well with People app that you don’t need to add an account to Messaging app if you have already added it to People app.

If you haven’t yet set up People app, though, then you can add an account from the Settings Charm of the app. Summon Settings Charm and select “Accounts”.

The Settings Charm lists the currently connected accounts. Click on “Add an account” to connect to a new account.

Currently, Messaging supports two services – Facebook and MSN. However, the app is still in preview stage, and is likely to garner support for other services like Google Talk, Yahoo!, etc., by the time Windows 8 launches.

Main Screen

The main screen of the app is divided into two sections. The left section lists all the conversations that you’ve had till date, using this app.

The right section shows the conversation thread of the selected thread. You can start typing in new chats in a textbox provided in this section.

There are a lot of options in the context menu. You can switch your visibility between online and invisible. You can delete a stored conversation. Also, you can start a new conversation with a contact.

Starting a New Conversation

Metro apps can use each other’s data. In this case, Messaging app uses contacts of People app to fetch a new contact to chat with. To start a new conversation, click on “New” button in the context menu of the app. This will launch People app.

The default screen of the thus-opened People app lists only online contacts from the connected services (Facebook, in my case). You can select any one of them to start a conversation.

Selecting a contact brings you back to the Messaging app, which keeps a new conversation thread ready for you.

Settings of Messaging App

This app implements Settings Charm to provide its settings. As mentioned before, you can access the currently connected accounts in the “Accounts” menu of Settings Charm, as well as add a new account.

The charm also gives you settings to customize the app itself. To access them, summon the Settings Charm, and click on “Options”.

When you add an account to Messaging app, you will remain online in that account even when the app is not running – Messaging keeps running in background, thus ensuring your online status.

In order to stop Messaging keep you online, you can turn off Messaging from this menu.

In case of an error, Messaging may send personal data like email address of the active contact, in order to diagnose the error. You may opt in or out of this automatic diagnosis through these settings.

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