Google Contacts is a great way to keep your contacts organized, but the Android version always lacked some features from the web app. The Android app has always been simplistic in nature, with the UI consisting of just a constant stream of contacts and an Add button. Google Contacts 1.5 is a welcome improvement, so let's dive in!
User interface changes
Previously, the Google Contacts app used just two tabs, Favorites and All. This has been replaced by a hamburger menu with more options. There are options for viewing contacts and duplicates (which we will get to later), as well as filtering by labels and accounts.
Labels have been in Google Contacts for ages, but have never graced their way onto the Android app for some reason. Now you can create and manage labels from the app, which should help with on-the-go contacts management.
Duplicate contacts is an issue with any contacts management application. Previously to merge contacts in Google Contacts, you had to open one contact, tap merge, find another contact, and confirm. The new Duplicates screen makes it easy (if it detects your duplicates):
Here you can see it detected my test contact, and it gives the option to either dismiss them if they are not duplicates, or merge them. It even detects duplicates across all of the synced accounts on your device, and links them so the details stay the same. This is a really nice feature, especially since you had to manually find and merge contacts before.
All of the overflow menu options originally found on the main screen have been moved over to the Settings page. As far as I can tell, there's nothing new here, just options moved around.
The APK is signed by Google and upgrades your existing app. The cryptographic signature guarantees that the file is safe to install and was not tampered with in any way. Rather than wait for Google to push this download to your devices, which can take days, download and install it just like any other APK.