Gmail Makes Changes to Contacts

By: 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:

Gmail - Merge Contacts

"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."

Gmail - My Contacts

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).

Chris Crum

About the Author

Chris CrumChris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.

View all posts by Chris Crum
  • Darren

    Thanks for the post on this features. It’s really great to know that Google isn’t slowing down… They just keep coming with something new that make our life easy. :-)

  • Guest

    thanks for the update.
    some great new features there for sure!

  • techknowl

    Gmail deserves the first place . They have chat ,video , SMS , multiple Inboxes , themes and more features that envy any other mail operators .And I hope they would cross Yahoo , before 2011 .

  • ENB14

    You’ve got to be kidding… Gmail’s Contacts UI is the biggest kludge ever, and has been for quite some time. I would love to be a fly on the wall during some usability tests, having run into many problems on my own (I’m a usability specialist by trade). For example, “My Contacts” vs. “All Contacts”? People are *totally* going to understand that.

    • wholesale bedroom furniture

      Yeah twitter is on fire but I found most people on their lame snobs and I don’t use it much. I got over DIGG along time ago.I’m waiting for the real 3.0 sites to come one the scene won’t be long now 😉
      Let’s build IT :)
      Always glad to catch your emails and I love this site and appreciate it stumbled the front page and not this Thanks again

    • las vegas

      One of the most significant limitation of the contact manager was that most of the contact fields weren

    • Guest

      Completely agree. Birthday is nice – but how about discrete address fields? Categorizations? Dates? Separate fields for first and last name?

      I love GMAIL but I hate its contacts feature. Its got me searching for an alternative service.

  • Guest

    I’m simply trying to change an address of a contact in gmail using the edit function in contacts. It isn’t working. First I tried adding the new address for the contact and got “Error saving data: cannot have more than one contact with [this email address]” Then I tried taking out the old address and replacing it. Same result. Cannot get around it. There is no other contact using the same address, or none in the list of contacts shown. I did sent to the new address but under the same contact name and it didn’t show in contacts – that’s why I’m having to manually add it. What’s going on? Why is it so hard?

    • lori Cleary

      all i get is cannot save more thatn one contact

      • lori Cleary

        why can’t i change the name on an email in ‘my contacts’

        all i get is the red message: cannot have more than one contact with the same email



  • sam

    tanxs for the post and added features