Windows 8 deep-dive: Get to know the People app

The People app is a contacts database with hooks into social media, but it falls far short of being a full-featured social media client.

By Alex Cocilova, PC World |  Windows, windows 8

Although the People app attempts to provide a semblance of social media interactivity, its features are scant and its interface is difficult to navigate. For example, if you want to see new tweets from all your follows, you have to head to the 'What's new' section. But if you want to post your own tweet, you need to enter the 'Me' section, a completely different location. These two basic Twitter features aren't integratedand that's confusing.

The app also flouts the familiar "long list of tweets and status updates" format that everyone has come to expect from pretty much every social media app in existence. Instead, it renders individual tweets and status updates inside obnoxiously large tiles that you can't compress, collapse, or otherwise resize. The layout leaves a lot of dull, blank space all over the page.

Traditional social media apps, such as Twitter or Tweetdeck for iOS and Android, offer a compact, list-style view that shows multiple tweets at once. People, in contrast, has room for only six updates on a single piece of screen real estate, so catching up on updates is more trouble than it needs to be.

Unfortunately, People doesn't include features for divvying up your contacts into logical groups. For instance, the ability to separate relatives, coworkers, friends, and casual acquaintances into easily sorted buckets would be helpful. As it stands, the single, unified contacts list becomes unmanageable quickly, and organizing people only by name doesn't provide enough customization and control.

Key options and settings

Let's delve into the settings that you can find within the Charms bar when the People app is active.

Accounts: Here you can add, manage, and remove the various accounts you've linked with your Microsoft account. Note that removing the Microsoft Account will remove all accounts, and People will become unusable until you log in with another Microsoft Account. Under the accounts that are email-related (such as Google, Hotmail, and Outlook), you can set the frequency by which the system will download new mail, and whether to sync email, contacts, the calendar, or all three. Accounts such as Facebook and Twitter need to be managed online through Internet Explorer (you'll see a link to the correct location).

Options: Here you can choose to sort contacts by last name (sorting by first name is the default). You can also elect to filter which of your connected accounts will appear throughout the app's main areas. If you clear the checkbox next to an account, that account's contacts will essentially disappear from the master contacts list and 'What's new' feed, but all those people will still show up in search results.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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