To my surprise this morning on windowsphone.com I noticed that a new feature was visible in my account. besides Account settings, Find My Phone and Purchase History we now have also My Family. It looks like Microsoft is getting ready to give control to the parents for their kids using Windows Phone 8. But there are already many different family control systems in place. Is Microsoft gearing up to launch “My Family” across all their services?
If you log on to your Windows Phone account on windowsphone.com and hover over your name on the right top you suddenly see a new feature called “My Family“. Since I have two kids and have them set up in my Family Gold Xbox Live account I was hoping to see my whole family there. But no, it looks like this is another family service from Microsoft that is not connected to the other family services they already have in place.
The screenshot below will show you that after adding one of my kids this feature will only work with Windows Phone 8. After adding my daughter to “My Family” it gives me an option to remove her again using “Microsoft Family Safety Settings“.
I remember using Microsoft Family Safety Settings way back and I needed to install the client on each desktop for me to be able to monitor my kids activities and to give permissions. However for Xbox, Zune Music and Windows Phone 7 you have to manage these kind of features from the Xbox.com Family Center settings (a little while ago also on Zune.net). Pretty much fragmentation and funny to see that Windows Phone 8 is managed through Microsoft Family Safety Settings instead of the Xbox environment.
Hopefully this is a sign that “My Family” will be the new Family management system across all Microsoft services that will protect and secure your kids from content and out of control purchases
Hopefully this will include a one location web “My Family ” management page or app without installation of a desktop client with the Microsoft accounts as the identifier. Probably on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 you still need a desktop client but for Xbox, Windows Phone 7, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 environment they will be based on the Microsoft accounts of your family members. Then you will be able to manage all the application purchases and the content of your children across all Microsoft platforms in one “My Family” hub.
Hopefully soon we have no more hard questions to answer with multi step directions in the Microsoft Community Forums. For example on the Windows Phone Community forums.