Google updated their Contacts tool today, aiming to make Contacts easier to use and more consistent within Gmail. In features, that means you get new keyboard shortcuts, sorting contacts by last name, custom labels for every field and more.
Google Contacts has long been one of the more underdeveloped aspects of Gmail, and now that so many of us sync our smartphones with Google's Contacts, it needs to live up to the task of managing your contacts better. Google's aim with this Contacts upgrade was to take a lot of the pain out of the Contacts experience inside Gmail or on your device (particularly Android devices). When the Contacts update hits your Gmail inbox, here's what you can expect:
- Keyboard shortcuts (go to Contacts and hit "?" for the full list) Ed note: Here's the Google help page
- Sort by last name (look under "More actions")
- Custom labels for phone numbers and other fields
- The ability to undo changes you've just made
- Automatic saving
- Structured name fields, so you can adjust titles, suffixes and other name components
- A bigger, more prominent notes field
Overall it's just making Contacts a more Gmail-like tool. Your contacts now sit where email messages would when you're in the Mail tab (notice the new Mail/Contacts/Tasks navigation in the top left), and contact groups go where Gmail labels go. In fact, you can add contacts to a group the same way you'd apply a label to an email message: Select the contacts you want, type 'l', and type the name of the group.
The new view/edit pane for individual contacts is also a nice improvement. To edit any field, just click in it and hit Enter when you're done.
If you're already a big fan of the way Gmail works, you're probably going to like the new Contacts upgrade. It certainly feels like an improvement to us. If you've already got the new Contacts enabled in your account, let's hear how you like it in the comments.