When I tell people that I use Google’s Gmail (s goog) 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.