You may have seen a number of recent Windows Phone 7 prototype reviews at sites such as CNET, ZDNet, Gizmodo, Engadget and MobileCrunch. Many of them cite the lack of Twitter integration in the People Hub as a glaring omission. Of course there will be plenty of Windows Phone 7 Twitter apps from the likes of Seesmic and Twikini, but why isn't it fully integrated?
If you were one of the Windows Live Home early adopters who added Twitter support to your Windows Live Profile, you might have seen a clue in your email back in June. It turns out Twitter decided to make some policy changes that seem to have prevented Microsoft from integrating twitter feeds with Windows Live. Since Windows Phone 7 is highly dependent on its Windows Live cloud services integration, you can see how this might affect the phone operating system's twitter integration as well. Of course this is all just me guessing at what's going on, but here's the email indicating that Twitter integration for Windows Live will be suspending until further notice:
Dear Windows Live Customer,
Thank you for connecting your social networks and other services with Windows Live. We are contacting you because you have added your Twitter feed to Windows Live and we want to notify you of an upcoming change.
Beginning June 30, 2010 your tweets will no longer be automatically imported from Twitter and shared out to your Windows Live Messenger friends due to policy changes made by Twitter. We are working hard with Twitter to make this service available again and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you.
We remain focused on making Hotmail, Messenger, and your PC with Windows great companions to social networks and other services. This change has no impact on your ability to connect Windows Live with our other 75+ other social networks and other service partners, which include Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Flickr, and more.
The Windows Live Team
It's also possible that Microsoft never intended the People Hub to have so much Twitter integration. Already people are complaining that with the Facebook integration, there are too many contacts on the phone. Twitter followees are often not even real people. They could be just bots that spurt out links once in a while. I certainly don't want those kinds of tweets in my People hub... a separate Twitter application is where those belong. And people who follow you? What would the People Hub do with them? I'm not entirely sure the People Hub makes sense as a place for Twitter integration just as it may not make sense as a place for instant messaging integration.
On the other hand, it would be nice if I could link actual people in my contacts to their Twitter accounts so that I could see their latest tweets in the People Hub. That would only be a fraction of the actual number of people I follow on twitter though.
If the Windows Phone 7 People Hub were to have Twitter integration, how would you expect it to work? Should it load all of the people you're following into the contacts database?