If you've got a well-organised contacts book, our hats are tipped in your direction. Keeping track of hundreds of people across dozens of sites and services is no easy task, and it seems strange that no one's quite cracked the formula for getting all this information sorted out. Here are four apps taking on the challenge.
Tagged With contact management
Keeping your address book up to date is always a tasking process. While a few apps exist that supposedly comb your contacts for updates, those only work if they actually update their information. Tech blog Digital Inspiration has come up with a simple Google Script that you send to contacts so they can update their information themselves.
If today's Google Sync announcement has convinced you that it's time to move your contact management to Google servers, you probably need to do a little housekeeping with your Gmail contacts first. For example, if you're staring in the face of numerous duplicate contacts that should represent the same person, the built-in contact merge feature in Google Contacts is a must. Just find the duplicate contacts, tick their checkboxes, and click "Merge these contacts...." Easy peasy. To manage your contacts, either head to the Contacts page in Gmail or to the unadvertised standalone site. Thanks Michael!
iPhone only: A bad sync, or a few clumsy finger swipes, can leave you with missing, duplicate, or otherwise messed-up iPhone contacts. iDrive Lite is a free app that stores contacts in the cloud. It's a simple app that exports your contacts to a space at the previously reviewed iDrive, a web-based file storage site. Hit "backup" to upload, "Restore" to download, and "Share" to share a contact or two via SMS. It doesn't seem to actually require an account with iDrive to backup, and I had a hard time finding details of what format the backups take. Still, for skipping the bill from MobileMe or anyone lacking an Exchange server link, iDrive Lite might provide free peace of mind. It's free to download, requires an iPhone running at least 2.0 software, and doesn't require a sign-up. iDrive Lite
Web application Soocial promises hassle-free contact management, seamlessly syncing contacts between a handful of potential buckets including Gmail, Outlook, the OS X Address Book, Highrise, and over 400 phones (including your BlackBerry). To get started, just sign up with Soocial and start adding accounts and apps using their simple setup wizards. Some syncing will require you to download a utility (Outlook and Address Book, for example), while others simple require that you enter in a password (e.g., Gmail). The site is currently in beta, and though it's gotten a lot of positive feedback from users, keep in mind that you could run into a bug or two. If you're concerned with the privacy implications, Soocial makes it clear that if you decide to cancel your account, all of your data will be permanently deleted from their servers. Keep reading to get a clearer picture of how Soocial makes contact syncing a "hassle-free" process from their demo video.
Gmail appears to be slowly rolling out a new feature in their Contacts application that allows the user to selectively determine whether or not you want to automatically add everyone you email to your contact list. You're likely to send and receive a lot of email in the course of a day, but if you would prefer to keep the people in your contacts list limited only to the people you add—which means a much cleaner, more streamlined list of real contacts as opposed to all 5000 you've accumulated with the old system—looks like you can now do that through the My Contacts pane. Like most things Gmail-related, Google appears to be rolling this out slowly. If you're seeing this new functionality in your account (we aren't yet), let's hear more about it in the comments. Thanks Matthew!
Outlook add-on Xobni has integrated with professional social networking site LinkedIn to enhance your contact information with job and employer details when possible. Using Outlook but not Xobni? Check out what you're missing.
Windows only: Freeware application iContact downloads your Gmail address book to your desktop for quick access to all your contacts' information. Searching contacts in iContact is very fast, but the main benefit of the application is its built-in support for other tools. For example, you can make a phone call with Skype or map a contact's address with Google Maps with just a couple of clicks in iContact. The application is very young, and it was a little buggy in my tests—for example, contact names didn't show up in the sidebar until I started searching. Aside from that, it's a promising app for integrating your extensive Gmail contact list with your desktop. If you give it a try, let's hear how it performed for you in the comments. iContact is freeware, Windows only. Thanks Khash! iContact
The Official Gmail blog points out a small new feature update in Gmail that allows you to edit contact information on-the-fly directly from your chat list. In short, when you hover your mouse over a contact in chat (or an email), the name in the pop-up details window is now editable. Since the chat pane is really the quickest way to search and access your contacts, it's a great way to quickly add meaningful names to your contacts—especially since Gmail's contact management tools are still a little unwieldy. Small improvements like that could go a long way in boosting Gmail's status as a top 5 contact management tool. Tip: Edit contacts right from your chat list
Thunderbird only (all platforms): Thunderbird extension Contacts Sidebar pulls Thunderbird's built-in contact management out of obscurity, making it more usable and accessible. After installing, just hit F4 at any time to toggle Contacts Sidebar's visibility in the Thunderbird sidebar. Once visible, you can easily search, edit, or email contacts from the main Thunderbird interface. We'd mentioned Contacts Sidebar once before among our eight killer Thunderbird extensions, but in light of today's Hive Five contact managers and the 'bird's relatively poor showing, it deserves a mention of its own. Contacts Sidebar
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.
In the 21st century, the majority of our correspondence takes place digitally, which means easier, faster, and more efficient communication with our contacts. But the proliferation of digital communication also means we're faced with more contacts, email addresses, phone numbers, and instant messaging handles to remember; even more difficult is keeping all of this information up-to-date and available wherever and whenever you need it. Countless contact management solutions are available on the web and for your desktop, but among all that choice, it's difficult to narrow down the best. So for this week's Hive Five, we want you to tell us all about your favourite contact management tool. Hit the jump for more details and to nominate your favorite.
Store all of your online contacts in one place with web application Keepm. If you've run the gamut of popular email applications across the years, chances are you may have lost track of a few contacts along the way. Keepm imports your contacts from popular applications like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, AOL, Linked In, as well as from vCards or Outlook. When you need to search for a contact, you can go straight to Keepm and be comfortable knowing that the information you need is there regardless of where you originally created that contact. You can also export your contacts from Keepm at any time as vCards or a CSV file, which means it would at the very least work well to consolidate and export your contacts. Keepm does require you to hand over your username and password on the sites you want to import contacts from, but they do not store your login info on their servers. Keepm