Evolution of Social Integration on Windows 8
Social Integration on Windows Phone
One of my favorite features of WP7 is its amazing integration of social networks. WP7 is paving the way for invisible social integration. Where it is not required to open different apps to see what your friends and family are doing, but just as simple as unlocking your phone and viewing a tile. Its simple, elegant and amazing.
ITS SIMPLE, ELEGANT AND AMAZING.
There are many ways that Windows Phone needs to be impoved upon, but it's social integration is top notch and arguably the best on a mobile device. With Windows Phone, social notification are grouped in the same place and are easy to access. You almost never have to open apps like facebook and twitter. This is the evolution social integration.
Social Integration On the PC
The PC has long been a place for social interaction. From the birth of AOL and AIM to now facebook and twitter. But, the desktop has always made you go to the web for these social interations. That is something that over the years I have grown very tired of. No matter what desktop OS I am on, I feel detached from the world until I open my browser. For the most part, that is very true. When were speaking about just the desktop, and not applications within it, you are detatched from the web.
No matter what desktop OS I am on, I feel detached from the world until I open my browser
Thats where the point of this post comes in. Windows 8 is going to bring more social integration, that is for sure. But, I am almost certain the desktop will remain the barren lonely place it is and always was. I have thrown together examples of how I believe deeper social integration could be realized in Windows 8 on Metro and the desktop.
Metro Picture Social Integration
First, pictures are something that we want to share with all of our friends and loved ones. On the Metro App for Windows 8 CP you can pull photos from most social networking and picture sharing sites. That is great, but what if I could have all of my photos synced to all of these places and have just one area on my desktop and Metro app for photos. Let me explain.
Here is a screenshot of how Windows 8 CP is right now. It is really the first Desktop OS to offer this kind of application. Where your pictures get pulled from social sites and are able to be viewed on all your devices. Its great, but it could be better.
Here is a mockup I have done to show you how powerful the pictures app could potentially become on Metro if deeper social integration was added. You have all of your pictures stored on your PC and you can choose what albums on your computer you want to have synced to certian social networks and picture sharing sites. Login to these sites once and you will never have to log in again. You can choose to have a little icon to the bottom right of the image to show what sites it is shared on. Perhaps a setting could also be chosen to have these icons only appear when you hover your mouse over the album.
Opening a picture you will see many of the things below your picture that you would see under a picture on a window phone. It would show what the title of the album is that the picture is located, what sites the picture is displayed on, tags you have on the picture, and your caption that will be posted to every site that the picture is synced to. You can then scroll down and find comments that have been made on the picture and below the comment it will say when it was posted and what social networking site it was posted from.
When you put a new picture album on your computer, you will promped to add captions to your pictures, and also be able to select the social sites you would like to add the pictures to. You can also choose an option to never be prompted again, and you could access the menu at anytime by right clicking the album and selecting "Social Properties." You can also choose certain pictures that you don't want to share. You can also select an option that syncs your albums automatically allowing you to make captions later.
These same option could be added to the desktop as well. It would be really easy to add a few menu options, and add a little icons at the bottom right of pictures. The Windows Photo Viewer program could be updated to view comments and tags as well.
Metro Video Social Integration
Home movies are great for social networking and have yet to be that integrated in our social lives. The movies Metro and Desktop app could completely change social video sharing with deeper social integration. In my dream social desktop OS, when adding a new video to your computer a prompt will appear similar to the prompt seen for pictures. You can upload your video to any video uploader supported, and add a description and title to your video. You can also set a default action for videos where it will automatically upload them or not upload them at all.
Home movies are great for social networking and have yet to be that integrated in our social lives.
This is what the video app looks like as of now. It does not organize your videos in any way, and all of your videos become a jumbled mess. I have all of my videos set up in folders with cover art. The metro app just displays all of my videos in the all menu and the other menu.
This is a quick mockup I have done of the Video metro app. As you can see, it is very similar to the photos metro app I threw together. Social icons are visible to the bottom right, and default actions and automatic uploads would be included as well.
This is a quick mockup I have done of the Video metro app when inside a video. As you can see, it is very similar to the photos metro app when you have opened a picture. Album name, tags, upload information, and comments could all be seen and added below the picture.
Just like the Windows Photo Viewer program for photos, the same option could be added to a desktop video player as well. It would be really easy to add a few menu options, and add a little icons at the bottom right of videos. Microsoft's Windows Media Player program could be updated to view comments and tags as well.
People Social Integration
The People application has the ability to make the facebook website or even app something that people will never have to get on again. It has the potential to rap all social features found online, and bundle it in one beautiful metro package. It definitely has a long way to go though.
The People application at this point is basically an address book.
The People application at this point is basically an address book. To me there needs to be a lot deeper social integration to feel more like a social hub for all social services you use. It feels like a hassle to see what my friends and family are up to, and I don't feel a real need to use the app. Also, not having the ability to combine contacts leaves me with a list a mile long. It includes businesses, bands, and anything in between. It is a jumbled mess that leaves a lot to be desired. If it stays the way it is, people will rely heavily on going to the online versions of these social sites.
Social networking is here to stay. The way we communicate with each other is changing dramatically as technology advances. Desktop OSs need to evolve socially, and make it less of a hassle to stay connected. We should not have to rely on browsers to connect to our friends and family as more and more apps connect to the internet on their own. Automatic uploading of pictures and videos, integrating all social services into the Pictures, Video, and People app, and allowing users to see and comment anywhere within the OS will make the website version of sites unneeded. We are moving beyond browsers and its about time the OS evolved with it.
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