In a surprising find, in the latest 'Redstone' Insider builds (Fast Ring) Microsoft is evidently expanding the People app with Xbox contact integration.
The feature was brought to our attention by @woelfel who spotted the addition. In essence, Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile will soon have the ability to link your Xbox friends to their full contact information in your People app.
Microsoft has already begun to expand the People app, which took a massive hit in functionality from its Windows Phone 7 days. Years ago, users could link apps into the People Hub to get a birds-eye view of a contact's activity. That feature was stripped in Windows Phone 8 and 8.1.
However, the Windows 10 People app does let external apps share information, such as Facebook (beta), Skype, and the old Twitter app (ironically, the new one does yet have that feature). Now, we are getting the first signs that the old People Hub functionality may be returning.
The new ability is still in the early days and as such there are some caveats. Here is what we know and what you need to make it work:
- Windows 10 or Windows 10 Mobile 'Redstone' build 14295 (or higher)
- The Xbox (beta) app for Windows 10 and Mobile. Download that app here
- The Xbox contact must be using their real name and not a 'handle.'
It took us a few tries once we downloaded the Xbox (beta) app as it appeared to download a patch from the Store. We also had to have the People app closed out and it took a few opens and closes before the two apps synced together.
Eventually, we were able to open the People app and using the Filter Contacts feature choose Xbox (beta) from the options menu. Afterwards, you can find a contact and hit the link account button to add their Xbox account
What's it used for?
So far, the Xbox integration is used for messaging. Under their profile you can choose Send message and pick either Skype, SMS, and now Xbox. Doing will open the Xbox app, although it is still a work in progress.
Perhaps later more features will be added including, fingers crossed, their Xbox history, which could show up under the History section of the user.
Overall, this is a very neat expansion of the People app and it should give Windows Phone and Windows fans something to look forward to in the coming weeks. Even more exciting is the possibility of other social networks being able to do the same.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.