Windows Phone 8’s People App has the Groups and Rooms feature. This is where you can combine all things related to a certain group of people. We’ve been using the Family Room for about a week now and I must say that I’m quite impressed. The setup was really easy, just add the people that you want and that’s it. You immediately have shared photos, chat, notes, calendar and a filtered view to social media. This article describes how this sharing feature actually works.
I dug into it a little bit more and what doesn’t say on the cover is the use and importance of SkyDrive. Once you start using these services, the importance of this cloud based storage becomes quite critical. All the stuff that shows up in these rooms is stored in SkyDrive as shared items. The founder of the room becomes the host of all the groups stuff, photos, notebooks and whatnot.
In the screenshot below you can see a Family Room folder under my SkyDrive. This folder is now shared with members of my family. They can see this folder as a Shared folder in their own SkyDrive. So the stuff lies in my cloud drive while others have read and write access to it.
The next image displays the contents of that folder. There’s Photos, a Background image (this becomes the wallpaper of the group in People App) and a OneNote Notebook.
That’s basically it, plain and simple. I don’t know what happens when the original founder leaves the room. I’ll have to dig a little bit deeper into this. My guess is, it disappears and if you wan’t to assign somebody else as the master, there’s gonna be some manual configuring. A new group altogether and then migrating the contents to that new group. Or maybe they’ve thought of that, who knows.
What do we use it for?
|Photos||wife takes a photo, shares it to Family Room and I see it the very second on my device, great!|
|Calendar||Finally, I can see family schedule side by side with my work calendar. Add joint editing, who doesn’t want this?|
|Notes||A shared TODO list, need I say more?|
|Messaging||Instead of SMS texting, the messages between family members flow through messenger now, cheap!|
…and all this has been adopted within a week, pretty impressive, right?