Microsoft has a history of releasing features that most developers don't take advantage of. The People Bar, for example, is only used by eleven developers. And three of those apps are made by Microsoft.
But just because a feature isn't popular doesn't mean it isn't useful. Developers have figured out how to make the People Bar a hub for messaging across multiple platforms and even keeping up to date with YouTube videos.
The People Bar feels most natural as a messaging hub. You can drag contents over a person's icon to send it to them or click on their icon to message them directly using supported services. The most popular services that are supported are Outlook, Skype, Telegram, and Discord, though the latter two require a third-party application. You can use Unigram for Telegram and Quarrel for Discord.
When someone is pinned to the taskbar you can jump to any service you have their details for. For example, my wife and I often work together in a professional setting. If I send her work related content, I pop open Outlook, but when I want to just chit chat with her, I use Unigram. I don't have to open a bunch of apps to keep things organized.
Having my contacts directly on the taskbar makes it incredibly easy to send quick messages to people or send files their way.
Copy and paste across devices
Microsoft is working on a universal cloud clipboard that will work across devices. The first major steps of that arrived in the Fall 2018 Update of Windows 10. But until that rolls out to phones, you have to resort to a third-party app to copy on one device and paste it on another.
Copy Space is available on Android, iOS, and Windows 10. It syncs using OneDrive and its integration with the People Bar saves you time compared to having to open the app every time you need to grab something from your clipboard.
Check out videos
The taskbar might seem like an odd place to place a YouTube client, but myTube! does it exceptionally well. You can pin any channel you subscribe to the taskbar and then click on their icon to see their feed of videos. You can then watch the video directly in the People Bar or continue viewing it in the myTube! app.
It's ingenuity like this that I wish more developers would emulate. The developers of myTube! didn't need to put videos into the taskbar. In fact, I doubt that's what the people at Microsoft had in mind when they created the People Bar, but it just works.
Wrapping things up
It's sad that the People Bar is used by less than a dozen developers, but many of the apps that take advantage of the feature make it worth using. Thanks to the People Bar, I rarely open the full version of Unigram. You can also use it to keep your copied text organized or stay in touch using a number of services.
I also love to see developers like Ryken Studio, the makers of myTube!, use the People Bar in a clever way. I hope to see more developers take this route.
Do you use the People Bar? Will you try it out now that you know there are ways to make it useful? Let us know in the comments below.
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