February’s onslaught of Google service improvements continues with four new additions to the still fairly weak Contacts application in Gmail. Two features focus on cleaning up your contact data, which is key. Now that Google will sync Contacts over-the-air to handsets, we needed to see some effort in basic contact management. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen duplicates. You can now merge contact info by multi-selecting and choosing to merge the data into one record. (You’d be surprised to know how many James Kendricks there really are according to Google Contacts!) Removing people from the “My Contacts” group is finally here as well and should also cut down on unnecessary data syncing between you and Google.
There’s a new “All Contacts” group, which honestly should have been there from the beginning. Lastly, you can search contact records by more than name or e-mail fields: phone numbers, notes and mailing addresses are all searchable as well.
These basic updates combined with the new Google Sync support now have me using Google as my sole book of record for contacts. I’m making more of an effort to embrace the cloud again since we had our fireside chat about email clients vs. email on the web. I am a little concerned about how flimsy the Contacts application is, but it is, in fact, getting better. Adding to my concerns is today’s news that Nokia lost three weeks worth of data from Ovi users.
I add most contacts through Gmail to begin with so the Contacts bit makes sense for me. Just to be safe, I’ve set a weekly reminder in my Google Calendar to export my Contacts to a .csv file.