Does Gmail Suggested Contacts solve the problem?

By Mark O’Neill
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

As much as I love my Gmail, there are still a few things that annoy me about it and the main bone of contention centers around the address book.   While Gmail Labs is busy giving us stupid little things like different stars to put next to our emails or “Old Snakey” games, I think they should better spend their time instead improving whats already there – starting with the address book (or contacts, whatever you prefer to call it).

But credit where credit’s due – they have already made one improvement by introducing Suggested Contacts.   This begins to eliminates something which was making me curse in a half-dozen different languages (some of them made-up I have to admit) everytime I opened my address book.

Before Suggested Contacts came along, whenever you sent an email to someone, Gmail would add the email address of that person to your address book (whether you wanted that or not).   Pretty soon, your address book would become a mess and I personally was cleaning it out about 2-3 times a week (and I had better things to do like watch Chad Vader on YouTube).    As you can imagine, many hacked off Gmail users were demanding to Google that they be allowed to have more control over this area of their email.

It looks as if Google has finally listened – sort of.  This is how the new system will work.  When you email someone, their email address will go into a new area of your address book called “Suggested Contacts”.   If you do nothing else, it will stay in Suggested Contacts.   However, if that contact becomes your new super buddy, then you can move it from Suggested Contacts over to My Contacts (which is your regular Gmail address book).

But with all things Google, not everyone has this feature yet.   I only got it this morning and it looks like it is being rolled out VERY slowly.   So keep checking your address book and eventually you will get it.

In a way, Gmail has fixed the problem and NOT fixed the problem.   They’ve fixed it in that the contacts won’t be mixed up with your regular ones (hooray!).   But also, they haven’t fixed the problem in that all they’ve done is move the email addresses to another folder in your address book.   Here’s an idea – how about NOT saving the email addresses at all?    How about giving us an option in the email itself that says “save this contact to address book”?   Why does Google feel they know instinctively what their users are thinking and what they want?

By merely shifting the email addresses to another folder, that’s like kicking the mess under the bed and then telling your partner you’ve cleaned the house up.   You haven’t.   You’re just moving it to another place to make things look better.   That’s all Google has done here.   They’ve kicked the email addresses to another folder and said “look!  problem fixed!”.   Er… no, not quite.   But it’s a good start anyway.   Don’t stop now.

Advertisements
Advertisement




19 Responses to Does Gmail Suggested Contacts solve the problem?

  1. While we're on it, why can't they include an option to add a contact more easily? I hate that they only way to add a contact is to create a new contact and manually enter their email address! They should include Add Contact on the little drop down menu you get when you hover on any email address in an email.

    For example, a friend emailed a whole list of people including me. I'd like to add everyone to my contact list and create a group so I can use it in the future, without replying to the email now. Very frustrating that I can't do this.

  2. While we’re on it, why can’t they include an option to add a contact more easily? I hate that they only way to add a contact is to create a new contact and manually enter their email address! They should include Add Contact on the little drop down menu you get when you hover on any email address in an email.

    For example, a friend emailed a whole list of people including me. I’d like to add everyone to my contact list and create a group so I can use it in the future, without replying to the email now. Very frustrating that I can’t do this.

  3. I don't think making a sub-folder in the address book solves the issue.

    I assume GMAIL doesn't want to "hit us" with what we already have in Yahoo! or in Hotmail, which is exactly what Mark is suggesting "Let us decide if we want to add the contact, or not"…

    They probably want to make a super innovative feature that does the same thing as letting us decide whatever we want to do with the email address we just sent.

  4. I don’t think making a sub-folder in the address book solves the issue.
    I assume GMAIL doesn’t want to “hit us” with what we already have in Yahoo! or in Hotmail, which is exactly what Mark is suggesting “Let us decide if we want to add the contact, or not”…

    They probably want to make a super innovative feature that does the same thing as letting us decide whatever we want to do with the email address we just sent.

  5. Ugh. I touted "you don't even have to figure out how the address book works, it'll just automatically add everybody you talk to so it can show when you start typing" as a feature to my mom when I switched her to GMail last week. And now they've gone and gotten rid of it! Now she's gonna have to go learn to use the address book and remember to manually add people and bleh…she's gonna go back to replying to 3-month-old emails (to avoid the address book) again, I just know it! Bring back the automagic address book!

  6. Ugh. I touted “you don’t even have to figure out how the address book works, it’ll just automatically add everybody you talk to so it can show when you start typing” as a feature to my mom when I switched her to GMail last week. And now they’ve gone and gotten rid of it! Now she’s gonna have to go learn to use the address book and remember to manually add people and bleh…she’s gonna go back to replying to 3-month-old emails (to avoid the address book) again, I just know it! Bring back the automagic address book!

  7. To be honest, I think that this is a good solution. While, the old system of having every person you ever emailed in one spot was annoying, putting it in a separate place is very convenient. I've had times where, I thought I was just going to email someone once, and months later, I need to email them again (I don't like searching through my emails, I can never remember what they're about).

    However, in my opinion, a better solution would be to keep the "Suggested Contacts", but have an option in the preferences which let you either:

    1: Always Save Contacts (in Suggested Contacts)

    2: Never Save Contacts

    3: Ask to save Contacts

    But, that's just me.

  8. To be honest, I think that this is a good solution. While, the old system of having every person you ever emailed in one spot was annoying, putting it in a separate place is very convenient. I’ve had times where, I thought I was just going to email someone once, and months later, I need to email them again (I don’t like searching through my emails, I can never remember what they’re about).

    However, in my opinion, a better solution would be to keep the “Suggested Contacts”, but have an option in the preferences which let you either:
    1: Always Save Contacts (in Suggested Contacts)
    2: Never Save Contacts
    3: Ask to save Contacts

    But, that’s just me.

  9. I also hate having to delete the contacts from the chat list on the sidebar. Just because I email a person once doesn't mean I automatically want them there! Also, it would make more sense if they added the people who actually had gmail. What use is that feature if the email address is from hotmail or a personal domain?

  10. I also hate having to delete the contacts from the chat list on the sidebar. Just because I email a person once doesn’t mean I automatically want them there! Also, it would make more sense if they added the people who actually had gmail. What use is that feature if the email address is from hotmail or a personal domain?

  11. Actually, I find this to be the most appropiate solution. Some of the people you send mail to, you'll definitely want to look up later on. And now you'll have a clean segmentation between your "official" contacts and the people you've only sent mail to in the past.

    The other (additional) screen for saving the contact, while sometimes useful, would simply add another step to the process. I like hitting the send button and that's it, email sent.

    Anyways, I respect your opinion and I completely agree on that THIS is the kind of features Gmail should be implementing instead of the crap that's currently on gmail labs. The gmail labs is a good idea, but the current "features" there SUCK.

  12. Actually, I find this to be the most appropiate solution. Some of the people you send mail to, you’ll definitely want to look up later on. And now you’ll have a clean segmentation between your “official” contacts and the people you’ve only sent mail to in the past.

    The other (additional) screen for saving the contact, while sometimes useful, would simply add another step to the process. I like hitting the send button and that’s it, email sent.

    Anyways, I respect your opinion and I completely agree on that THIS is the kind of features Gmail should be implementing instead of the crap that’s currently on gmail labs. The gmail labs is a good idea, but the current “features” there SUCK.

  13. GMail is very great, but I HATE Gmail contacts management, at all… I hope Gmail folks will create a clean and useful system to manage contacts, if you can please write about this need!

  14. GMail is very great, but I HATE Gmail contacts management, at all… I hope Gmail folks will create a clean and useful system to manage contacts, if you can please write about this need!

  15. I personally agree with Tim, for I find Mark's solution as bad as the contact managing state he complains about, in the way that on both gmail is deciding for you the way your contacts will be managed. I understand he wats to manage them manually, but how about a normal user like Mackenzie's mom, I agree my mom would rather gmail administer the contacts automatically adding all of them at once.

    As Tim suggested letting us choose how the contacts will be managed (manually, automatically or someplace in the middle) seems to me the better way to go for now.

    But this is all my opinion. All n all, I truly love the fact that google listens to what their users want =)

  16. I personally agree with Tim, for I find Mark’s solution as bad as the contact managing state he complains about, in the way that on both gmail is deciding for you the way your contacts will be managed. I understand he wats to manage them manually, but how about a normal user like Mackenzie’s mom, I agree my mom would rather gmail administer the contacts automatically adding all of them at once.

    As Tim suggested letting us choose how the contacts will be managed (manually, automatically or someplace in the middle) seems to me the better way to go for now.

    But this is all my opinion. All n all, I truly love the fact that google listens to what their users want =)

  17. Mark, 2 points; 1) you missed another important feature of "everything google". It's a beta product, don't expect production functionality from it. Even the email portion of gmail isn't "perfect". 2) They do know what you want. You want the "perfect" functionality of being able to type a recent contact coupled with the a decent contact manager. You want Outlook's NK2 file. Doing that in a web application is a little more complicated. Give it time.

  18. Mark, 2 points; 1) you missed another important feature of “everything google”. It’s a beta product, don’t expect production functionality from it. Even the email portion of gmail isn’t “perfect”. 2) They do know what you want. You want the “perfect” functionality of being able to type a recent contact coupled with the a decent contact manager. You want Outlook’s NK2 file. Doing that in a web application is a little more complicated. Give it time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.