10 best Windows 8 social apps
12th Nov 2012 | 15:00
The top apps for Facebook and Twitter from the Windows Store
It also shows you your entire address book from Facebook, Twitter, Linked in, Skype and your email accounts.
So while it's great for seeing what's going on, you can't Share to the People app from other apps like the browser to tweet or post things to Facebook.
Of course you can always look at the website for your favourite social network, but if you want to get live tiles, notifications and sharing, you want an app.
We know an official Twitter app is under development; not so for Facebook – Facebook says it has no plans and points at Microsoft, Microsoft points back at Facebook.
In the meantime, here are our favourite Windows 8 social apps so far.
FlipToast lets you see updates from Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Instagram in the same app; you can see the most updates, notifications, photos, messages, birthdays and your first twenty or so friends as you scroll across the screen or tap each pane to get a longer list of each of those. If you want to see updates from just one service, pinch to semantic zoom out and you get tiles to pick from. The design is friendly and fun rather than sleek and stylish but this is like the People app on steroids.
Even without an official app, there are several good Twitter clients. Rowi doesn't have a live tile and its black and green interface only fits in one column of tweets and one of photos, leaving lots of space for seeing one tweet in a large font, with its replies. The fixed ad at the top of the timline is badly placed, especially in snapped view. Gleek has handy options like adding a hashtag to all your posts and choosing how to mark replies (RT or via or just quotes) and the tile view is great for photos but it's a little odd to see the same tweets in a column and as tiles. That makes the colourful MetroTwit our favourite app for running full screen; although you can only see two columns on screen at once, it has a big, clear bar for writing your tweets in, plus previews of weblinks open in a nice large pane.
Also worth trying out, Tweetro has a comprehensive interface that sprawls across the screen to fit in your timeline, photos and the lists and searches you add (mentions, messages and favourites open in their own panes), with slightly confusing positioning but buttons like Reply and Retweet. If you don't mind scrolling you see more than with other Twitter apps full screen and Tweetro is definitely the best Twitter app to keep snapped into a side window so you can glance at your choice of tweets, mentions, messages, favourites or lists - and the conversation view when you reply fits neatly too.
4. Social Dribble
Want to see the tweets in trending topics at a glance? tMetro picks up the latest trending hashtags and grabs tweets for all of them. EventWall lets you pick hashtags to search for so you can easily follow a popular topic like an Apple launch or an event. But if you want to turn Twitter into a screensaver, Social Dribble displays one tweet at a time for your chosen hashtag in a font large enough for you to see across the room.
5. Digital Dictator
The interface is a bit of a joke, but this is a handy app for using snapped next to the People app to post updates to more than one network at a time; Digital Director posts to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (with your location) and Yammer.
This isn't just the best Google Reader app we've found; it also has one of the nicest interfaces we've seen in a Windows 8 app. You can see your list of feeds, the stories in one or all your feeds and the selected story on screen all at once in a view that still manages not to look crowded (and tapping the story loads the original web page into the story pane very elegantly). Or you can flip into a tiled view with no interface, just headlines and pictures for a quick overview; tapping a tile brings up a half-screen pane showing the story in an interface that defines clean and clear. Plus it syncs well with your Google Reader account so you won't find yourself reading the same stories again on other devices.
Ribbit and Narwhal are both worth a look, but the best Reddit app for Windows 8 so far is ReddHub; you can even use it without logging into Reddit if you want to see the cat pictures without joining the debates. You can pin subreddits to the Start screen, submit and reply to links (with decent quoting) and use the Share charm to send links to Reddit or share links from Reddit but perhaps the best feature is the way it automatically resizes pictures to fit on screen. We've never thought of Reddit as beautiful but that's what ReddHub is. Also, prepare to lose hours reading…
If you want to explore random Tumblrs or follow one in detail, Single Stream has a nice interface for doing that. But if you want to manage and update your own Tumblr as well as reading the Tumblrs you already follow, Tumbukun is a good – if rather primary coloured – app for that. You can like and reblog posts and write your own posts from scratch in the editor, although if you want to end an existing post you have to open it in the browser (annoying if you spot a typo right after you post).
The Messenger client for Windows 8 is very purple and uses a lot of space for just Messenger (and linked services like Yahoo and Facebook Chat). If you use other IM services, grab a copy of IM+ which covers all the main services including Google, Jabber and ICQ as well as the ubiquitous Messenger, AOL, Facebook, Skype and Yahoo plus international ones like RenRen and Yandex. The interface is fairly stark but there are plenty of handy options from blocking people you don't know to getting email alerts for messages you miss when you're offline.
The Windows 8 Skype app merges Skype and Messenger (and your Skype and Microsoft account); you see recent calls and chats made on multiple Skype devices, your favourite contacts and people you've talked to recently – or you can see your full address book as tiles. Plus you get Skype as another way to contact friends from inside the People app. If you prefer Google Voice for calls, check out Freetalk.