Most importantly, the new version streamlines how contacts are combined with duplicates and updated with new information. It aptly uses contacts’ Google profiles to automatically update the entries on your account, and you can also merge duplicate entries for a contact into one super-entry. The new design combines contact information into neat bundles for phone, email, and Circles, sorting your most-used contacts into a Speed Dial-style list up top.
Contact cards get an update, too: Your most recent conversations, whether emails or Hangout chats, show up on a contact’s card (basically a profile page), eliminating the need to physically pore through your inbox history to find where a thread left off. Previously, the requisite inbox search would turn up any mention of the person’s name, not just direct conversations.
So long as you don’t mind Google folding your public profile data into others’ private address books, the new Contacts is a win for organizers anywhere. It’s unclear from the blog post whether the auto-updates depend on a user’s Google profile privacy settings. The update is not available for Google Apps customers yet, but Google is “working on it.”
[via Gmail blog]