Google Improves Gmail Contacts Manager

Google will roll out on Tuesday enhancements to Gmail's contacts manager, which the company acknowledges has been traditionally the webmail service's weakest link.

Google is confident that the improvements will fix the Gmail contacts manager's damaged reputation and prompt users to give it another chance. The company followed users' feedback when deciding what changes to make.

"The good news is that while many of you haven't been too happy with Contacts, you've also told us what we could do to make it better," wrote Benjamin Grol, a Google product manager, in a blog posting.

While users of individual Gmail accounts will see the new contacts manager today, people who use Gmail as part of Google Apps will have to wait longer. The improvements will be added to that hosted collaboration and communications suite at a later, unspecified date.

New features users will find in Gmail's contacts manager include keyboard shortcuts, automatic saving, the ability to sort by last name and an undo option. Also new are a bigger field for notes and what Google calls "structured name fields" for items like people's titles and suffixes.

A tweak to Gmail's layout now simplifies accessing both the contacts and tasks managers, which have been placed more prominently on the top left corner of the interface.

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