I started writing this post some (six?) months ago, and then forgot about it.
What I’d been trying to say was that after some period of stagnation, I was seeing general improvements as well as some real innovation in address book / contact management.
- Google Contacts, which is built into Gmail finally added merging of duplicates. Not a huge innovation, but quite important to me. Also Google Contacts integration with Google Voice works very nicely
- Gist builds on you address books elsewhere and is quite neat, and now has browser plugins
- Silentale was great in letting you search across your various inboxes, and since I last looked at it appears to have added a lot of new contact management features, so I’ll have to play with it some more again.
- etacts, as mentioned above, had some neat features. Letting you know how long since you had spoken with various people, and prompting you if desired. Also keeping track of whether you got replies to particular emails. Integrated nicely into Gmail.
- Rapportive, similar to etacts and Gist can integrate good information right into Gmail. One thing that was especially neat was their plugin-within-a-plugin model, so for example you can also get details about individuals from TransparencyData and Crunchbase, among others.
- I’m not sure about now, but when I first went to write this post, both etacts and Rapportive were being powered by Rapleaf which now looks to be more of an advertising venture
- Some other products that look good but have limited functionality for free users is Scrubly (address book cleanup and backup) and Flowtown which is intended largely for markets but allows you to match up contacts with their Facebook (and other?) IDs. Unfortunately Flowtown’s website indicates that basically all of this functionality is going away, and I’m not quite sure what they’ll be doing instead.
- Find by Email, a great (and open source) service that aggregates the find-user-by-email feature of many websites, as explained by Pete Warden. I’ve been meaning to write about some of Pete’s work for months, and this is just one little example.
- Digsby, the instant messaging program has been around for a while, but I finally tried it, hoping it would have a certain feature. I didn’t stick with it, but to use it and get my IM logs in I found Chat Log Converter which seems quite useful and supports quite a few formats.