Four Reasons the New Google Contacts is Awesome ;).
Google rolled out a set of new Gmail features today, and they’re just for us! Okay, they’re actually for everyone who uses Gmail–but between the custom backgrounds, labels, and chat friends populating the mail client we use every day, doesn’t your inbox feel inherently special?
A few aesthetic changes have been made to the overall user-interface. The Gmail header is now 16 pixels shorter, Mail, Contacts, and Tasks occupy a more prominent position at the top-left, and compose mail has also been transformed from a link into a button. And the selection options (All, Read, Starred, etc.) have been collapsed into a drop-down menu next to the Archive button.
It’s more like Gmail
Gone is the slightly cluttered, confusing Contacts interface of the past–Google has redone the page to look and feel much more like an inbox, with similar buttons across the top and plenty of contact information available on the screen at once. The selection and grouping options now work like they do in the Inbox, and keyboard shortcuts are in (and turned on in the Settings menu). The ability to sort by first or last name is also tucked neatly in to the More actions menu.
Custom Labels, Structured Names
Tired of labels that don’t quite fit, such as home/work? Get creative with custom labels for every field, from email addresses to URLs or multiple phone numbers. Or just make your own fields altogether. On the opposite end of the spectrum, the name field now offers individual spaces for first/middle/last names and prefixes and suffixes. Those of you who know any Sirs, Jrs. or Esquires are in luck.
One little caveat for custom labels: Google mentions that neither ActiveSync for iPhone or Blackberry Sync support these yet, so they won’t be showing up on your phone for now.
Undo and Automation
Hey look, an undo button! That’s always awesome. And what’s this? Auto-saving, just like in emails and docs? Oh Google, you spoil us.
If you’ve ever had separate contact entries for emails and cell phones and work phones, you know how much of a nuisance sorting through all those contacts can be. Google added a merge contacts option in the More actions menu, as well as a handy Find & Merge duplicates feature for bulk integration.
As more people adopt Android and find themselves using Google Contacts for their personal address book, these new features will be a godsend. The more intuitive layout and upgraded toolset finally makes Contacts a worthy companion to the Gmail inbox.
Who said? Wesley Fenlon said ;).