Best Contact Management Applications

Your contact list is growing larger every day, and so are the number of email addresses, instant messaging handles, and phone numbers your contacts use. That means you'd do well to find the best tool for managing your contacts before your contact list gets out of hand. On Tuesday we asked you to share your favourite contact management application; today, the elections are over, and we're rounding up the most popular answers. Hit the jump for a look at the five best and most popular contact management applications, then cast your vote for the contact management solution to rule them all.

Gmail/Google Contacts (Web-based)

Popular for its web-accessibility and the sheer fact that any contact management system built into arguably the best email client around has a lot going for it, Gmail Contacts have a strong following. Gmail's contact management isn't perfect—even those who love it have their complaints—but the fact is, anything backed by Google is likely to have a huge following, which also means tonnes of third-party applications built to support their infrastructure. Gmail Contacts lovers are still waiting, however, for the ultimate syncing tool, and perhaps a dedicated contacts tool separate from Gmail.

Plaxo (Web-based)

Plaxo (original post) is another web-based contact management tool with a very specific focus on contacts (with a dash of questionably useful social networking). Like Gmail, the web interface means anywhere-accessibility as long as you've got an internet connection and a web browser. What's completely unique about Plaxo is that it's built to support syncing to tons of popular contact management apps, including Microsoft Outlook and Apple's Address Book. In fact, most people who voted for Plaxo did so in conjunction with a desktop application.

Microsoft Outlook (Windows)

The de facto contact manager of almost everyone who works in an office (and even some who don't), Microsoft Outlook is no slouch when it comes to your contacts. And much like Gmail, there are tonnes of excellent third-party add-ons to enhance its contact management chops, like the Plaxo syncing plug-in or previously mentioned Xobni. Add to that its status as a top five GTD app and Outlook's no slouch for organising contacts and getting things done.

Address Book (Mac OS X)

Most folks who own a Mac look no further for a contact manager than Apple's Address Book. That's because Address Book is easy to use, it integrates seamlessly with practically every other application on the Mac, and it comes free with your computer. Windows users who wish they had a similar built-in contacts solution may want to try out Vista's new Windows Contacts application, which has a similar feel and comes free with Vista.

Palm PDA (Mobile + Windows/Mac)

palm1.pngIf you thought Palm software was completely out of style, think again. Several readers swear by the mobile Palm operating system's contact management tools and the corresponding desktop software for syncing those contacts between the mobile Palm OS and their desktops.

Now that you've gotten a taste for the most popular contact management tools according to your peers, it's time to vote for the best of the best:

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Honorable Mentions

This week's honorable mentions go out to Highrise (original post), Thunderbird, and the always-reliable, cross-platform plain text file.

If your favourite missed the list this week, or you want to sing the praises of your favourite contact management app that did, let's hear what you've got to say in the comments.


    they all suck. When is someone, anyone, going to develop a standard for address book fields/cards that all these different applications use. I want my address book to be portable, I want to reduce clutter, i want my iphone to pick up other iphone users contact info via bluetooth, and why not blackberry cards while we are at it....

    I found nothing better than lotus organizer 6.1. what learning curves? too bad nobody continues this great app.

    Contact Gorilla is like plaxo but easier / better. It's an update service for most major email systems. So I have 1000 contacts and it just let me e-mail them all at once and ask if the information is up-to-date and then all of my friends updated information.

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