Ever since Apple bought Coverflow, I thought that it would make an awesome interface for browsing people. In fact, I had previously designed “people in the browser” for Flock to look something like this in the early days:
Of course, at the time, the design required a few things that we still lack, namely: 1) bigger default personal photos or avatars, 2) ubiquitous universal identifiers for people (this was before OpenID) 3) and free access to public data about people, typically found at the end of those identifiers.
Anyway, CoverFlow for people is something that I think could be a very powerful way of revealing “the ghosts in the machine” — across Leopard — or in interfaces generally. Imagine this kind of view showing up in Mail.app, Adium, iChat… 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. The new integrated Gtalk features in Gmail seem to be prioritizing your “Top 250”, so this is also something that could be added to the People Coverflow API without much trouble in order for the interface to scale accordingly. Anyone able to hack up a demo of this idea?