Facebook Integration in WP7.5

It’s no secret that social networking has become a part of our daily lives now and most of our time is spent either on Facebook or Twitter or any other social network. And because of this immense popularity, it has become vital for smartphone manufacturers to somehow integrate these social networks onto their phones. While Android and iOS rely on dedicated Facebook apps, Windows Phone 7 does it a little differently by integrating Facebook right into the OS by default. Let’s see how well they manage to pull it off.

Setting up your account is pretty straightforward. Enter your credentials and the phone will sync your Facebook events to your calendar and the contacts to the people hub. Syncing contacts can take a while depending on the number of contacts you have. After it’s done you can open the people hub to view all your contacts. The people hub is essentially the Facebook app for Windows Phone. Swipe to what’s new to view all updates from your contacts. You can comment or like any status. Any links shared or picture and videos uploaded will be visible in the what’s new feed. In addition you can view these pictures in the pictures hub on the phone. You can also pin any contact onto the home screen and it will add a live tile. The tile flips back to show any recent update. You can click the tile to see the entire timeline of that one specific contact. From there you can also write on his/her wall or like a status.

The Me hub is a place where all your social network activity is stored. Everything you do goes into your ‘what’s new’ feed. You can update statuses or check in using the Me tile. The notifications feed as the name suggests shows all your incoming notifications. You can click any to view the post. In addition to all this you can pin the Me Tile to the start screen. For any incoming notification it will flip over to give a peek of it or show the number of notifications. The tile is a hit or miss. Sometimes it immediately notifies you of any notification where as on other occasion it either takes a while or simply doesn’t notify you. You then have to manually check the me hub.

Mango update also brings with it in built Facebook chat integrated into the messaging hub. Simply enable it by going in the messages settings. You’ll then see a list of all online contacts on Facebook. The option to set statuses is also present. If you’re texting someone and want to instead send him a Facebook message, simply switch to Facebook by tapping a button and send the message. Facebook messages will be shown in the same conversation thread. Incoming Facebook messages notification will be the same as SMS. I wish there was a way to have separate notification for Facebook chat to avoid confusion but right now there is no such option.

Overall the Facebook integration in Windows Phone 7.5 is the deepest I’ve seen on any OS. It’s pretty much everywhere in the OS. There are a few niggles here and there for example the me live tile but as a whole it’s a job well done by Microsoft.

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