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Windows Phone 8 Rooms feature

Windows Phone 8 brings with it many improvements to its social abilities, one such improvement is the inclusion of “Rooms”.

Taking some of the ideas from Windows Phone 7’s Groups feature and expanding it out, the new feature allows for powerful social interaction with a selection of your contacts. Windows Phone has always been a powerful performer with regards to its social networking prowess and Rooms is going to take that a step further.

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Information overload is all too common in our busy, hectic lives these days. One of the central themes through the entire Windows Phone operating system is of deep social integration. From the very start we have had Twitter and Facebook woven into the very fabric of the system. Sometimes though, too much social activity can mean it is hard to see the updates from those that matter most.

When you get to the point where you have hundreds of contacts on Facebook and the same amount or more again on Twitter, things can get hectic. We’re going to show you how easy it is to setup and create your own custom Live Tiles to cut out the static and see the updates from those that matter most...

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Windows Phone Basics: The People Hub

WPCentral's Guide to the Windows Phone People Hub

Our next helpful article for those who are new to Windows Phone covers the People Hub - the one stop for all your social requirements when on the go. The People Hub, as the name suggests, is where all your contacts are available to communicate with. Upon launching the hub from the home screen (tile is present by default - a mosaic of randomly generated photos) you'll be presented with your profile summary with latest Facebook status or tweet (if not simply swipe to the right - we'll keep things simple and start from the contacts list).

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The official GroupMe app was just released for Windows Phone not too long ago and while nice, it seems a bit redundant with Mango's groups feature. Still, it's a neat service and was one growing very quickly even though it's just over a year old. For those of you who don't remember, GroupMe's gives you the ability to create a group and then text or conference call that group with one number. What's neat is that you can use your data connection for texting the group, which can save some people money in addition to creating a unique conference call number which anyone in the group could use. Although the deal between Skype and Microsoft has been approved, it's still technically in motion, hence Skype buying GroupMe.

The Windows Phone app was still not feature-complete at the time, but it's still looking promising. What does this mean for Windows Phone users now that Microsoft (via Skype) owns the technology? We'll hope to see that conference call feature perhaps built in as well as the data-messaging system integrated into Mango's Group feature--that is, we expect GroupMe's tech to augment and enhance what's already there. We're okay with that. We can also see Skype getting some group features as well, which could also greatly enhance that service for more robust functionality.

For at least now though, the company and brand will remain separate with integration points coming down the line. Negotiations between Skype and GroupMe started around the same time as Skype and Microsoft, hence the overlap of deals.

via: TechCrunch

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The first of the big announcements for the user end is Mango will be bringing messenger to Windows Phone 7, which will support groups and threaded chat. SMS conversations will also receive this threaded feature as well as the ability to group texts. Allows integrated communication to friends without running applications for specific tasks. Windows Live will see a more prominent presence.

Also on the groups note, Live Tiles for individual contacts will notify the user upon changes with alerts for new emails etc. from that specific contact.

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Group SMS - App Spotlight

Here's a handy application if you have the need to text or email groups from your Windows Phone. Group SMS allows you to create groups from your contacts to avoid having to send your messages out individually.

In a hurry and need some boiler plate messages or responses? Group SMS also allows you to create message templates to send pre-defined messages. The developer, Stefan Stumpfl, liked the Metro design of Windows Phone 7 and choose the panoramic hub design for Group SMS to make it easier to navigate around. Group SMS tried to adapt the Windows Phone concept of "get in, out and back to life".

It's our understanding from Stefan that future updates to Group SMS will support multiple languages (German, French, Italian, and Spanish) as well as synchronization with Google Groups and Windows Live Groups.

There is a free trial version available for Group SMS with the full version running $.99. You can download both here (opens Zune) at the Marketplace.

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