BY Noah Robischon @ FastCompany


Of all the demos at TechFest 2009, the one I’d pick to include in a future Microsoft product is the Social Views of E-Mail application. It looks like a basic e-mail tool, but it organizes and clusters messages based on social groupings instead of just time and importance. This video with Andrzej Turski gives you a quick overview of all the features.

Say you’re part of a jogging club with a colleague at work, the social inbox would group different messages into your jogging club folder and your work folder based on the other names cc’d on the e-mail. That’s just one simple example of how this app uses your friend network to organize information.

The creators of this social inbox have also re-worked the basic display and user interface for mail. Along with showing profile photos, when you open and read a message it gets displayed in columns similar to a newspaper or magazine layout. And you can reply to a message from directly underneath the original message, much like you do in Web-based comments or forums.

There are already a few tools that enhance other devices or software, like Fonebook, which syncs your Facebook contacts with Outlook. But most of your social information is still hidden from the other aspects of your daily routine. The next stage of social media’s evolution will come when it scales the walled garden of existing social network destinations and becomes integrated with the rest of the devices and applications in your daily life.