Online contact management panacea, where are you?
September 25, 2012 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Where should I be managing my online contacts so that I can use them on my phone easily and how can I get there from the mess I have right now?

Why is managing contacts such a mess?

My personal phone is polluted with garbage put there by Facebook integration plus Gmail sync plus my work blackberry syncing to Gmail contacts plus stuff I put into the phone on my own. I am getting a new phone and want to move what I have off my old phone (ancient Palm Pixi) to a new phone (iPhone 4). Yes, I'm a trend setter.

I can get contacts off the Pixi, but on the iPhone when I hook up gmail sync, if I turn on contacts sync, that gets me all my gmail contacts. Then if I import the Pixi contacts, I have dupes.

Plus none of that has addresses which I only have in Windows Addressbook of all places because that's where we put them when we did wedding invitations.

Where is the right place to store contacts so that I can:
1) Have a web-accessible online rolodex so I can look things up easily
2) Modify or add contacts on my phone and the world stays in sync
3) Easily merge in all the data sources I have and clean them up

Bonus points if I can:
1) Have Facebook profile pictures on my phone for contacts that have Facebook
2) Share effortlessly with my wife so that our rolodex is shared and goes to each of our phones

I'm fine paying for things. I feel dumb for not knowing the answer.
posted by cmm to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
I don't know how itunes for windows handles data syncing, but I believe it should hook up to your system address book just like it hooks to Contacts on a Mac. As far as deduping, the phone won't do it, but the software on your desktop should (Contacts does).

I had been using Gist (recently shut down by blackberry) and now I'm on Nimble CRM, as a service to consolidate all contacts from different places, tag and de-dupe them, and maintain a canonical online reference. Then you can export from Nimble back to the phone (I haven't done this yet but I know you can get CSV out from Nimble). Yes, it's not painless, but it should get the job done.
posted by Chris4d at 2:02 PM on September 25, 2012

Oh, and as far as sharing with your wife -- if you both have iphones, this is as easy as syncing to a shared icloud/apple ID. If not, there's probably still a way, but it depends on the phone.
posted by Chris4d at 2:04 PM on September 25, 2012

I had the best luck using Google as my primary contact storage. I imported everything I had (from Facebook, LinkedIn, work email, etc) into Google Contacts. Then I cleaned up all of my Google Contacts and set my phone so that Google was the only account that synced with my phone. I only keep actual contacts, friends and family in my Google Contacts list. I figure if I really need to find a random acquaintance from Facebook or LinkedIn, I can take a minute and go look it up in that particular app. Any new contact added via my phone syncs to my Google account.

Google was the easiest place to import all the data and had options to merge and easily clean up data. Plus, I like that I can access it on any computer too, so it's basically backed up.

In case it matters, I'm an avid Google user (Gmail, Google Calendar, etc) who formerly had an Android phone and now has an iPhone 4S.
posted by JannaK at 3:20 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. I'm surprised there isn't a big player in this niche.

Google Contact is ok, but could be significantly better. If it were better, Google would give it higher billing instead of burying it under Gmail and it would work better with Google+ and my profile.

But I guess I go with Google Contacts for now. Is there anything anyone knows of that will bring Facebook profiles into Google Contacts?
posted by cmm at 10:00 AM on September 26, 2012

Sorry for the delay - took me awhile to see your follow up post! I think I used Friends to Gmail to migrate my Facebook info into Gmail.

Yes, their website is horrendously atrocious. But it did the job.
posted by JannaK at 7:11 PM on September 28, 2012

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