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How to Add Accounts to the Windows 8.1 Metro People App

If you set up Windows 8.1 Metro Mail with a Hotmail/Outlook.com, Gmail, or Exchange Server account, all the contacts belonging to that account have already been imported into Metro People. If you set up more than one Hotmail/Outlook.com account, for example, all the contacts in both accounts have been merged and placed in People.

Before you start pulling all your contacts from Hotmail/Outlook.com, Gmail’s Contacts, Exchange Server, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Sina Weibo (a giant Chinese blogging site), realize that there are side effects, not just in establishing Microsoft-controlled links with outside applications, but even inside the core Win8.1 Metro productivity apps, Mail, People, and Calendar.

Before you add an account to People, be aware of the effects that adding that account has in other tiled apps. Here’s how connecting the following accounts with Metro People impacts other tiled apps:

  • Facebook account: Brings your friends to the Metro People list. In addition, lists your friends’ status updates in the What’s New section of People. (In Windows 8, adding Facebook would also copy your Facebook photos over to the Metro Photos app, but Facebook put an end to that in Win8.1.) You can use the Metro People app to post on your Facebook Timeline and you can view (but not import) your Facebook photos.

  • Google account: Brings in your Gmail contacts but not your Google+ contacts. In addition, adds your Gmail account to the Metro Mail app. (Apparently Microsoft hasn’t dug in to the Google+ social networking mill yet.)

  • Hotmail/Outlook.com account: Brings in your Hotmail/Outlook.com (and Windows Live) contacts. In addition, adds your contacts’ Windows Live status updates to the Metro People What’s New page.

    What? You didn’t know that you and your contacts (er, People) have Windows Live status updates? Sure you, and they, do! Microsoft tried to get into the Facebook business years ago, and added the almost-never-used Share Something New option at the top of the Windows Live landing page — the page that used to greet most people when they first logged in to Hotmail.

    With the ascendancy of Outlook.com, that page has gone away, but vestiges of Share Something New persist. If your, uh, People are verbose enough to actually type something in the Share Something New box, it’ll get shared in your Metro People app. Sharing is good, right?

  • LinkedIn account: Brings only your LinkedIn connections into the Metro People app. That’s the way it should be.

  • Sina Weibo: Apparently this only brings in your Sina Weibo contacts.

  • Twitter account: Adds the folks you follow on Twitter to your Metro People contacts. In addition, their tweets are siphoned into the Metro People What’s New page.

Now that you understand the implications, you’re ready to add accounts. Here’s how to add many/most/all your contacts (you get to choose how many accounts to connect) to the Metro People app:

  1. Bring up the People app from the Metro Start screen by tapping or clicking the People tile.

    If you’ve added only a single e-mail address to Mail, you may see an Add People to Your Contact List window on the left.

  2. If the Add People to Your Contact List window appears, tap or click the Add More Accounts link.

  3. If the window doesn’t appear, slide from the right or hover your mouse in the upper right of the screen, choose Settings→Accounts→Add an Account.

    However you get there, the Add an Account pane appears on the right.

    image0.jpg
  4. If you have Facebook, Google, Hotmail/Outlook.com, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Exchange Server accounts, think carefully about which ones you want to add to Metro People.

    If you have old information in one or more of those accounts, you may want to think carefully about whether including all of the contacts in your Metro People list will be more of a pain than it’s worth. Modifying existing contacts, er, people is intensely time-consuming: You have to tap or click each contact one by one, review the information about the contact, and modify accordingly.

    While Metro People tries to identify duplicate entries — the same people coming from two different sources — and merge the data, it’s not real good at resolving differences.

  5. One by one, tap or click accounts that you want to add, and provide login IDs and passwords.

    In some cases, you have to go to the account’s site to verify your identity before People can import your contacts.

    When you finish, your contacts appear in the People app.

  6. As you import each set of contacts, take a few minutes to review the combined list.

    You’re bound to find many duplicates, and a lot of mismatched data. Hang in there and do the best you can.

No, there’s no way (at least at this moment) to directly import Outlook, Windows Live Mail, or Windows contacts into Metro People. (Windows Contacts come from the little-used Windows Contacts program in Vista and Windows 7, or from the Windows Address Book in Windows 95, 98, and 2000.) You can, however, sync Outlook contacts with Gmail and bring them into People through Gmail. Look for the GO Contact Sync Mod program.

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