updated 11:47 am EDT, Thu June 14, 2012
Microsoft explains cloud and social nature of People
Microsoft has disclosed more details on contact management in Windows 8. A Microsoft Developer Network blog post explains how the cloud-connected People app pulls in contacts from various social network sources, incorporates social feeds, and shares the address book with other applications.
In an effort to avoid duplicates, People attempts to match users across several social networks and present the findings as a single “linked” contact tile. Future Windows 8 releases will provide options to edit contact information to correct mistakes, mimicking equivalent functionality in Hotmail and Windows Phone.
The People development team followed a design principle that focused on deep integration with other applications and to the operating system itself. Secondary tiles can be linked to a contact through the "contracts" API system, putting the contact details and status updates on the front menu screen. A Share contract allows posts to Facebook or Twitter from any Windows 8 app, while connections to the People app provide options for direct messaging instead of public broadcasts.
The cloud-based features use a Microsoft account as a central store for settings and contacts, importing new details and exporting the contact list to new devices when needed. The system keeps the contact list up-to-date, regardless of which device was used to make changes.
Final revisions to the People app are expected to be implemented before Windows 8 formally arrives later this year. The current Windows 8 Release Preview does show an earlier form of the People app, but not the current version.