At the Surface event in October of last year, Microsoft showcased some key features of the upcoming Creators Update. The Creators Update is, of course, scheduled for a release sometime in April, but it seems it’s not coming with all the features that were promised.
In the latest Insider update announcement, included was a small yet significant announcement. The ‘My People’ feature – one of the most anticipated features of Creators Update – will be delayed; it will now show up in the “next major Windows update” – that’s Redstone 3, in late 2017.
The ‘My People’ feature borrowed something from Windows 10 Mobile – it’s people-centric interface. The idea while designing Windows for mobile was that it had to put its focus on people, rather than applications. iOS and Android both have an app-centric experience; Windows 10 Mobile clearly doesn’t.
The idea itself was initially introduced with Windows Phone 7 in 2010 – that’s where the Tiles come from, after all. Windows Phone 7 featured the ‘People Hub’ that consolidated all communication with people across all messaging services and social networks.
The People Hub, therefore, put the focus on people, rather than the medium of communication – whether it was Skype or Facebook didn’t matter, the conversation was the focus.
The idea sounds great, but it undermines the brand of these services – that’s by design, but services didn’t like that very much. Facebook wants you to know you are using its services when you have a chat with your best buddy; the People Hub didn’t allow for it and thus failed.
The ‘My People’ feature in Windows 10 brings back the idea but implements it a little differently. This time, it highlights what service you are using; your contacts are pinned in the Windows 10 taskbar, where you can drag and drop files or anything else.
Clicking on a person highlights the services they are available on, and gives you the option to start a conversation right from the panel.
Instead of hiding the apps and services, the ‘My People’ feature highlights them and gives 3rd party applications the opportunity to integrate with Windows at a deeper level. The branding for these services remains so does (most) of the UI.
Microsoft has codenamed its updates with the ‘Redstone’ prefix; Redstone, of course, is a conductive element from Minecraft and is used to build circuits and complex machinery.
The Anniversary Update was known as Redstone 1, Redstone 2 is the Creators Update; Redstone 3 doesn’t have a name yet.
A lot is hanging off the shoulders of Redstone 3; it’s less than a year away, but things like Project NEON, the ability to run x86 apps on an ARM processor, and now the ‘My People’ feature are expected to be in it.
It will be interesting to see if Microsoft is able to deliver all of these incredible features with Redstone 3; Redstone 2, clearly, couldn’t do it.