Gmail Makes Changes to ContactsBy: Chris Crum - February 12, 2009
Google has announced four changes to Gmail’s contact manager. Each change is a feature to enhance the service’s usability.
The first change is "contact merge." This is a basic but useful addition, which simply merges the contact information for one person from varying sources. For example, if my friend Rafael used his Gmail account, his Yahoo account, and his Hotmail account on separate occasions to contact me, they could now all be merged into one set of contact information for him, whereas before they would have remained separate.To utilize this feature, just select the contacts you want to merge and click "merge these…" as showing in this image:
"Now that you can sync your contacts to a variety of devices, being able to merge contacts is more important than ever," writes Product Manager Benjamin Grol on the Gmail Blog. "Please note that as we mentioned on Monday, there’s a known issue with merging contacts that affects address auto-complete, making merged addresses sometimes come up in a suboptimal order (e.g. auto-complete may bring up your friend’s work address first even though you usually email their Gmail address). We’re working on fixing this so the email address you use the most for any given contact will always come up first."
The second change is that instead of "Suggested Contacts," you’ll now get a group called "All Contacts." If you prefer "suggested," you can still get to that list by clicking the "view suggestions" button while you’re in "My Conacts."
The third change is that you can move contacts out of the "My Contacts" group. The fourth one is that you can search across all your contact fields. This is a long-overdue feature, and evidently many others agreed and frequently requested it. So basically, now you can search phone numbers, notes, mailing addresses, names, and email addresses.
These changes have got to be part of Gmail’s strategy to enhance user experience and ultimately grow its user base. It is doing a pretty good job of that so far. Reports suggest that Gmail is on pace to move ahead of Hotmail by the end of the year, and possibly even Yahoo Mail be the end of 2011 (not that Yahoo seems worried about this).