Social Network Integration in Windows Makes Sense

Click a photo on your Windows Phone 7 device and with a tap you can share it with your Facebook friends or save it to Windows Live SkyDrive. In the People hub, check out updates of your friends on Facebook and Windows Live. In the upcoming release, Twitter will also be integrated natively  within the Windows Phone platform.

Clearly, the need to integrate social networking activity is a key design point in Windows Phone 7, and in most other mobile platforms and devices. This gives me a random thought, “Would a ¬†stronger social network integration within Windows, maybe in Windows 8, make sense?”


Imagine video from your laptop’s integrated webcam streaming live on Qik. Imagine photos from your Facebook or Flickr friends and their updates displaying on the desktop dynamically like Active Desktop in Windows XP. Imagine a Twitter mention notification coming to you as a traditional balloon notification onTaskbar. Of course, all this is possible with various applications on the desktop today. Windows has the biggest developer ecosystem, fuelled by the humongous number of users. Native functionality will make it seamless, and allow optimization of network and processor usage as well.

There can be two arguments to such functionality. These features might be overkill, might hamper productivity, and may not be preferred on enterprise desktops. Secondly, with this always on’ kind of social activity, security and privacy are of paramount importance.

Windows 8 attempts to come close, but with the underpinning of applications. Live Tiles on the redesigned Start screen on Windows 8 show constant updates from applications like weather information, social network updates, or unread email. Applets on the Start screen are programmed in HTML5 and JavaScript, and are essentially web pages. With the new Start screen, one-click access to social networks could be possible without firing up any application.

Although, the early previews of Windows 8 and the Start screen are impressive, lets see how it evolves over the traditional Windows approach. Also, Windows Live suite of applications are critical bridges between Windows and Windows Live web services and other social networks, and their next iteration will be something to look forward to.

Published by

Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.