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Summary:

When I tell people that I use Google’s Gmail to manage my contacts, I generally get laughed at. I can see why — until recently, the Contacts functionality was meager at best. It still has a ways to go, but to quote the fab four, “I’ve […]

gmail-merge-contacts

When I tell people that I use Google’s Gmail to manage my contacts, I generally get laughed at. I can see why — until recently, the Contacts functionality was meager at best. It still has a ways to go, but to quote the fab four, “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, it’s getting better all the time.”

The latest improvement is a simple method to search for duplicate contacts and merge them. I knew I had a bunch of duplicates because I see them on my phones, but I didn’t realize there were 42 of them out there. I feel badly that I’ve forced virtual dual-personality issues on some of my contacts, so I’ve already merged the records — nearly four dozen people probably just gave a sigh of relief without knowing why. ;)

One of the main reasons I’ve dealt with Gmail’s Contacts, even without it having advanced features is the cross-platform support. Since Gmail is a web service, I can access my contacts from any browser on any device. And because those contacts can be synchronized on nearly every major smartphone platform through Google Sync, those contacts never have to be manually entered on a handheld. Plus, any contact updates made on any of the devices are automatically sent back to the cloud and other devices. It’s simple, and it works.

  1. Speaking of Google contacts. If you are a Google Apps user with your own domain name, as I am, and also use Google Voice, you know those are separate contact lists. Here’s a really simple, and automatic way to keep your contacts in sync.

    I use Thunderbird 3 for my e-mail/calendar, but you can probably do the same thing with different tools. There is a Thunderbird add-on called Zindus which will sync your Google Contacts. Zindus supports multiple Google accounts, and processes those sequentially. So, make your Google Apps account the first one in Zindus, and your Google Voice account the second account in Zindus. Now whenever Thunderbird is running, which for me is almost always, I can make changes either in Thunderbird or Google Apps Web site and those get synced about hourly, and those changes are then automatically pushed to Google Voice.

    I try not to make Contacts changes in Google Voice, but if I did for some reason, they still get synced properly, it just takes two sync cycles.

    My phone (Palm Pre) syncs contacts to my Google Apps account so any changes made on the phone also end up in the Google Voice account pretty quickly.

    Hope you find this useful.

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    1. I’m in the same situation: Google Apps for work but Google Voice for personal use. Great tip! :)

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  2. Kevin this is Great! Thanks for making us aware of this!

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  3. Thanks for sharing nice article. Recently I read fantastic article about hidden features Gmail which I would like to share you all ~ Know your Gmail better

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  4. Awesome, this post really helps. Duplicates are really frustrating; this can cause other conflicts as well. On the side note using duplicate remover tool Scrubly Duplicate Remover is really effective. This automatically scan and delete those duplicates , merge compatible contacts and resolve other related conflicts.

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