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Google revamps contact management in Gmail

The company has made a handful of tweaks and bug fixes that make the contacts manager built into Gmail more user friendly and easier to spot.

Gmail logo

Google on Tuesday announced that it is giving the contact management tool found inside Gmail an "overhaul."

The enhanced version of Gmail's contact manager, which Google says is already in the process of going out to users, brings with it a number of small tweaks, the biggest one being automatic saving. So, if you're making changes to a contact, you can be halfway through making edits or additions and if you close the page, or move onto something else, those changes get saved without any user input required.

Also included now are Gmail's standard keyboard shortcuts, and a way to make custom fields if the ones provided by Google do not fit the bill. According to a Gmail help page, these labels do not yet sync up for users of Google's ActiveSync product for the iPhone and BlackBerry, which is worth noting if you plan to include any important information you want accessible from one of these devices. Other tweaks include an undo button to get rid of the last change you made, and a way to sort contacts by last name instead of the previous default of alphabetic by first name.

Alongside the feature changes, Google has made both its contacts and tasks tools a more prominent part of the Gmail experience, bringing the links to both the very top left of the page. Previously these links had been well tucked just underneath a user's labels, where they could easily be lost under the fold.

As with most Google feature rollouts, this goes out to users in waves (not the soon-to-be-dead Google Wave mind you), meaning if you don't have it yet, you will soon.