Windows 10 gets more social with “My People,” a taskbar feature focused on sharing, communication

Microsoft’s next version of its Windows 10 operating system, the Creator’s Update announced this morning, is about to get a lot more social. The company demonstrated a new feature called “My People,” which puts your most important contacts directly in the bottom toolbar on your desktop, so you can more easily share with them, message them across a variety of communications apps, and even receive emoji pop-ups as a way to tell each other that you’re thinking about them.

In the demo, an emoji with a heart and smile, a unicorn, and a microphone were shown off, popping up from the toolbar, as examples of incoming “shoulder taps,” as these emoji messages are called. (This doesn’t sound like it would get annoying at all, does it?)

While cute, the larger goal of the “My People” feature is to place those who matter the most to front-and-center in the operating system’s interface.

Built-in sharing functionality will put these favorite contacts directly in applications themselves. For instance, presenter Allison O’Mahony clicked to share a photo from the new photo app, and instead of just showing your applications you could use to share that image, a row of people appeared at the top of the screen.

The idea here is that sharing is primarily about the “who,” not the how.

That same sentiment extended to how Microsoft is merging its communications apps for use in this My People feature, as well.

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“It’s all too easy to miss the communications that matter the most,” explained O’Mahony.

Using this concept of favorite contacts, Microsoft will filter your incoming mail messages and Skype chats so you’ll get those messages that are most important first. These messages will appear as notifications that pop up above the person’s icon in the toolbar, and so you can quickly respond.

What makes this interesting is that the feature makes it easy to switch between communications apps, so you can answer the message using the app of your choice.

In another demo, the presenter showed how she could move between incoming texts from a person, and the emails the texts referenced, right from within this pop-up interface. This is actually a fairly clever feature, as it could speed up the time it takes to respond to notifications.

The My People feature works with email, Skype/Skype for Business, and SMS, thanks to SMS relay from Windows and Android mobile devices.

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