It appears that Microsoft's latest OS will be 'touchy-feely' in more ways than one -- with a strong focus on interacting with your friends and maintaining personal contacts.
As a recent Microsoft blog post noted, Windows 8 "focuses on people and apps" and gives you "powerful new ways to use social technologies to connect with the people who are important to you".
One of these new technologies is the Windows 8 People app: a cloud-powered service that helps you to manage your contacts. It's essentially an interactive, catch-all address book that pulls information from your email and social accounts and brings everything together in one place.
"With Windows 8 and the new People app, we are taking cloud storage a step further by optionally connecting it to other services you already use," explains Microsoft on its blog. "This brings together email contacts and contacts from your service/social accounts in one easy to access and use place that roams across your Windows 8 PCs and phone."
Once imported, the app will work across all your Windows devices, ensuring you never have to track down an email address or phone number again -- instead, it's all there in the cloud. You can also catch up on status updates, photos and any other info that your contacts choose to share.
The app uses Exchange ActiveSync and secure, standards-based APIs (OAuth, REST, etc.) to collect data from a range of sites and services including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Cleverly, the app will automatically combine different accounts belonging to the same person into a single contact.
This contact information is then displayed in a Metro-style interface where the user can view contact details, send messages, see and comment on photos or peruse recent status updates. "Whether you’re browsing the summary of “What’s new” across your contacts and networks, or just looking at a specific contact, it’s easy to catch up and stay connected," claims Microsoft.
The People app has been available to try ever since Windows 8 Consumer Preview launched, but has only recently received the spotlight treatment on Microsoft's blog. Could the company be planning bigger things for the app? Time will tell.
To try it for yourself, download the Windows 8 Release Preview. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments section below.
You can find out more about the Windows 8 People app in the following video: