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Official Gmail Blog: Four changes to Gmail contacts

Official Gmail Blog: Four changes to Gmail contacts

Over the past few days we've made a lot of small changes to Gmail's contact manager which, combined, should make it easier to organize the contacts you want and get rid of some of the cruft. Here's a quick summary:

1. Contact merge (and an important caveat about auto-complete)
Many of you may have seen Monday's blog post about Google Sync which mentioned contact merge. Nothing had been annoying me more than seeing several copies of "Jeff Jones" on my iPhone — only one of which actually contained his phone number. I now have one "Jeff Jones" which contains all of his contact information. To do this, select the contacts you want to merge and then click "Merge these..." as shown below:

Now that you can sync your contacts to a variety of devices, being able to merge contacts is more important than ever. 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.

2. All Contacts
Instead of Suggested Contacts, you'll now see a group called All Contacts which, as the name would suggest, is where all of your contacts live and thus a good view for merging duplicate contacts. You can still see suggested contacts by clicking the "View Suggestions" button from My Contacts. From there, you can select frequently emailed contacts to add to My Contacts.

3. Remove people from My Contacts
You can finally move contacts out of the My Contacts group — especially useful if you're planning to sync your contact list to your phone. Prune the contacts you don't want synced to your phone from My Contacts (click "Groups" and then "Remove from My Contacts"), and they won't get synced.

4. Search across all contact fields
We've heard you loud and clear, and contact search now works much better: instead of just searching contact names and email addresses, it now includes phone numbers, notes fields, and mailing addresses as well. So, if you're visiting the Bay Area and looking for friends to catch up with, you could try typing "650" or "415" in the contact manager search box.

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Matt said...

Regarding Google sync of my contacts.
I love the idea but I have two major issues.
1. I sync to my IPhone and my groups do not show up in my IPhone! I would like to be able to use groups and manage groups in my IPhone.
2. The custom field do not work. In other words if I have two phone numbers under one contact and I label one as HOME and the other one as OTHER, the one I labeled as OTHER will simple not show up in my IPhone at all! further I inported that contact from Address Book in my IMac and when that contact was in my IMac I created a custom label (like "Mike's cell")and that custom label shows up in Google but again the whole phone number is missing when I access that contact from my IPhone. This is a big problem if I have multiple phone numbers for one contact.

Another issue that needs to be adressed is that fact that Google contacts only has one field for the contact name. Most other contact software (address book, and my IPhone have separate fields for first, Last, middle, prefix, suffix...) this means that you have no way of sorting your contacts to your liking and when your import from a Vcard or the like Google merges the fields into one based on the order they were in when the Vcard was created. Example: I had my contacts in Address book sorted Last name first when I create the Vcard. When I imported the Vcard into Google it merged the contact name into one field in that same order (with no way to change it). Then when I looked at my IPhone (through Google sync) the contact names were demerged into the wrong fields (first name in the last name field and visa versa).

I love the idea of be able to keep my contact on the Google server and accessing them through Google sync but these things need to be fixed for it to truly be a useful tool.

Thanks for reading my rant. I look forward to working with this feature once your able to rifine to make it more useful.