In a post on his web site , Chris Messina wonders why Apple doesn’t extend its Coverflow technology as a way of “browsing people”.
Formerly a member of the development team for Flock (“The Social Browser”), he once toyed with idea himself.
He has mocked up a vision of how this might look in Address Book:
Image shamefacedly nicked without any kind of permission from Chris’ post
The possibilities, he suggests, are enormous:
Imagine this kind of view showing up in Mail.app, Adium, iChatâ€¦ where your friends, family and the rest get to update their own user pictures on a whim, and set their status and contact preferences in a way that visually makes sense.
This is a terrific idea. One of the best things about Mail is its human face.
Pulling the photos from contacts in Address Book and displaying them in their emails makes my day more personal. It humanises the time I spend emailing and reminds me that I am really dealing with the people behind the emails, not just with text. In fact, this was one of the reasons why I switched from PCs to Macs a few years ago.
For the same reason, I really like the iFaces notification utility, which still worked under Tiger but sadly may not work anymore. It sat on the Desktop and displayed the faces of people who had written newly arrived and unread emails (see screenshot on the right).
It’s another small way to give email a human face.
Of course, Chris is talking about something far more adventurous than that. I’m only imagining how good it would to have that contact information to hand in the results of a “Spotlight: Xxxx Xxxx” search from the Contextual Menu in Mail.app. Chris’ vision is more informed and his horizon wider.
UPDATE: As Aaron Harnly points out in the comments, you can get a rough and ready experience of what this might be like, by browsing your ~/Library/Application Support/Address Book/Metadata folder with Coverflow in Finder:
You can even use it to play the “face recognition game” Aaron describes. Hours of funmail.app, address book, contacts, coverflow, spotlight, apple, leopard
Tags: Address Book