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Is Google's contact management THE killer app for Google+ ???
Why the integration of contact manager is key

» The Challenge
Today, everybody is struggling with fragmented and inconsistent contact management. People are managing different islands of contact information, spread all over their communication and social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Linked-in, private Webmail clients, Corporate Exchange/Outlook Mail, address books in mobile phones etc.). Bringing these islands together to one centralized and consistent platform will result in a paradigm shift.

» What should Google do?
The following points are key:
1. Integration | 2. Embrace Competitors | 3. Intelligent Merging

1. Integration into Google+
Google+ is defining everybody's social environment. Therefore, contacts are a key element of Google+. For this reason, Google's contact manager (which is today part of Gmail) should be a central element of Google+. Integrate the contact management portion as a sub-element of Circles and allow to add non Google+ users to Circles.Gmail should point to Google+ contact manager (unlike today: Google+ points to Gmail).

2. Embrace Competitors
Google's contact manager should combine all kind of contact information sources and networks. It should allow to add multiple social networks as well as corporate communication platforms (such as Exchange ActiveSync) in the main profile of the central contact manager (by adding personal user credentials of the different social platforms such as Google+, Linked-in, Facebook, Twitter, Corporate Mail systems etc.).

Google should not have the illusion, that people will use only Google+ for networking. Instead, they should simply integrate and embrace all other platforms. This includes some of their main competitors, such as Facebook and Twitter. Who cares? If you are great in integrating others, you will win. At the end, it will make other platforms less relevant.

3. Intelligent Information Merging
Combining different data sources requires an intelligent process, which automatically merges duplicate contact information into ONE COMPLETE instance. This merging process should include:

• Duplicate contacts as a whole
• Duplicate data fields of merged contacts (phone numbers etc.)

If there are multiple entries of the same data type, but with different values (for example: mobile phone number, email etc.), the contact merging process should give the option to define how to handle it: Add all entries (but let me specifiy each data field name) or just use the data source with the most accurate information.

» Conclusion
By making Google contact manager a central element of Google+, being able to access consistent contact information of all available data sources (including Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, Corporate Mail etc.), will eliminate today's multiple islands of painful and inconsistent contact management. This will automatically lead people to join Google+, because it will make it the best platform available for managing the social ecosystem.

Please let me know what you think.

+Alex Reusch

Relevant hash tags: #googleplus #contacts #contactcentre #contactmanager #contactmanagement #Facebook #Twitter #Linkedin #Exchange #Outlook #Update #Layout #Integration #profiles #circlemanagement #contact #addressbookapp #addressbook
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