On my Windows Phone 7.5 Mango review i mentioned how social media services will be integrated tightly into the peoples hub. The first Mango beta already provided the Facebook sync but Twitter and LinkedIn were not yet available. Recently Microsoft pushed out a Mango beta 2 update which activates the complete social media sync including Twitter and LinkedIn.
I’m using both new services so i added my accounts to see how the integration will work. The peoples hub default screen doesn’t change at all, you’ll still see your own picture and your last status message, besides contact groups and the alphabetical list of your contacts.
It seems like your Twitter and LinkedIn contacts are not integrated in the contacts list at this point, as i could only find my Facebook friends. Strangely there is even an option in the peoples settings called ‘filter my contacts’ and you can choose between all of your connected accounts. So maybe we will indeed get full contacts integration on the final Mango build, but the beta 2 doesn’t support this.[EDIT: Indeed the sync worked after i hardreset the phone, as it was suggested on the comments. So the Twitter and LinkedIn contacts sync is working fine on Mango beta 2. You can see all contact details like email, phone number and address. It's also possible to directly send Twitter mentions to a Twitter contact as well as looking at the recently exchanged tweets with that person.]
On the ‘what’s new’ tab you’ll find updates from your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn contacts. It’s possible to reply to any update directly within the stream. This is a nice feature generally, but i don’t want to combine all of my streams, since i use each service for different use cases.
So it’s good to see that you can easily switch between a combined stream or separate streams for each service. Especially since the combined view doesn’t really provide any visual indicator to easily recognize where the status message was actually posted. There is a small grey subtitle for each status message which specifies the service, but i would have loved to see some icon or specific color too.
Posting status messages to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Windows Live is possible via ‘me’ hub.
Notifications will also combine all services into one stream, and interestingly it’s not possible to filter this list by service.
You can choose which services to update on each status message.
All of your status updates will be channeled through Windows Live, so each service has to grant access to Windows Live in order to be integrated into your Windows Phone 7 device. This might be an issue for some people, as we don’t know if Microsoft will somehow track the data which is sent through Windows Live. Overall the social media integration of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is a solid feature, but contrary to the great Windows Phone Facebook integration where i was actually not using the Facebook app at all because the People’s hub made such a good job, i can’t see myself neglecting i.e. the official Twitter app. Maybe this has to do with my use cases (Twitter for my Blog, Facebook for friends, LinkedIn for work related topics) and the fact that i’m not convinced by unified streams based on different services. Whenever i want to check out Twitter, i want to concentrate on tech blogging related stuff, so having LinkedIn or Facebook updates in between would just disturb. And vice versa, i’ll be reading Facebook updates or LinkedIn news more likely as separate channels. But i can still see the social media integration being handy for light users, which want to keep up with all services in one place. And having Exchange Mail, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn contacts within the people’s hub is really a handy feature.