Google Contacts – from poor to fair (& hoping for more)

Since switching to the G1 I’ve become even more dependent on Google Contacts as my default contact manager (because it now powers my phone contacts automagically). I’ve never loved the product – it’s always been slow, hard to navigate and even harder to edit – and I wasn’t excited about increasing my reliance on it.

Thankfully, Google has recently made some tweaks to Contacts that suggest they’re aware of the problems. First (thanks to a tip from Read/Write Web) I discovered that there’s now a standalone page for Contacts – – that decouples contact management from Gmail. Next, and much more important, Google (a) fixed the conflict rules that prevented two contact records from having the same email address, and (b) introduced a ‘Merge contacts’ feature that allows multiple records to be combined with two clicks.

These changes move Google Contacts from borderline-unusable to merely adequate, but given my dependence on the product that’s an encouraging start. Given their big bets on Android and – more recently – Google Voice, it’s a safe bet that more improvement is in the cards.