Since I tend to use my Google Apps Gmail page as mission control for scheduling, organization and communication, I was very happy to read that Google is going to (finally) make some much needed improvements to Google Tasks. I like the way Tasks are integrated into Gmail, and I generally keep my Tasks open at the bottom of my Gmail page.
I agree with Mashable that these five improvements will vastly improve Tasks. I was already using Tasks, having moved away from RTM and other third party options, and most of the things I miss are covered in Google’s recently announced Task task list:
1. A Tasks API and synchronization
2. Reminders and notifications
3. Recurring tasks
4. Shareable task lists
5. Visual distinction for overdue tasks
So, good job Google.
Now, what about Google Contacts? Can we please fix them too? Gmail is beautiful. Google Calendar is powerful and elegant. Google Contacts sort of sucks. But we can fix it, and I’ll help by giving you the list- right now. Together we can make Google Contacts awesome.
1. Make the Contacts Page Simpler and More Useful
The page looks, well ugly. Compare it to Calendar and you’ll see what I mean. Google can create the new design, but here are a few ideas. We simply must have alphabetical links at the top somewhere, at least as an option. No one wants to have to search just to get to the S’s. Please lose the “All Contacts” list. I don’t know what that is. I want the people I add to my Contacts to be in here. Not people I may have at one point emailed or chatted with. Or yelled at to stop spamming me.
Again, this can be an option, if Google believes there is value to auto-adding contacts.
Let’s add a tag for “Favorites” and have that list appear in a separate column on the landing page. There’s plenty of room. I know there is a “Most Contacted” list, but I want more control over this, and I want the list to appear all the time.
Finally, let’s move the Contacts link from the left column up to the top, beside Mail, Calendar, Documents, etc. and have it appear on all of the app pages, just like the others.
2. Let Us Choose to Default to Home or Work
If we only get one wish, this would clearly be mine.
I can’t tell you how many of my contacts have their work information stored under “Home,” because that’s the way the entry form defaults. See?
This one simple improvement would save me a ton of time.
3. Auto-convert Phone Numbers and States to Designated Format
I’ll admit I’m a little anal about this stuff, but I hate to have some phone numbers with periods and some with dashes. And I want all of my states to be abbreviated. Outlook has done this with phone numbers for years, so we know it can be done.
4. Let Us Create Custom Fields
I love the fact that the default form has a blank for birthdays, but I want the ability to add other information. For example, I might want a field for Facebook Page, Twitter Name, etc. I know you can add multiple “Websites” now, but I want total control over the info I add, and the way it appears.
5. Better Google Maps Integration
When I display a contact, a Google Map should appear somewhere on the page showing me his or her address, and offering to give me directions there. A link that would let me email the address and directions to someone would also be nice. I know I can click "Map” under the address and get a map, but that requires me to leave the Contacts page. I want all of this to be integrated and embedded.
And Two Wishful Bonuses
The last two might be a stretch, but it would be awesome to have the ability to email a photo of a business card to a designated email address, and have that card converted into a Contact entry. It would need to go into a special list, perhaps “Scanned,” so we could check it for accuracy and then add it to our main Contacts list.
It would also be awesome to have a box beneath the Contact entry with customizable search results for the name of the Contact and/or his or her company. We should be able to configure the search results as we like: web, news, blogs, social networks or any combination thereof.
Add Your Wish list
Add your wish list in the Comments and I’ll compile a list and send it to one of my Google contacts for consideration.