Google Contacts v2.7 is rolling out, but you're not likely to see anything different in the UI. This update likely fixes some bugs and lines up a few new features. A teardown points to a brand new widget that will include a list of contacts. We'll also be able to look forward to a clever tool that will suggest names for contacts based on sources like Google Maps and your corporate directory if they're available.
The features discussed below are probably not live yet, or may only be live for a small percentage of users. Unless stated otherwise, don't expect to see these features if you install the apk.
Follow-up: Cleanup Wizard
We'll start with a quick note about the cleanup wizard, which was first named a couple versions ago, but really began to see activity about a month ago with the v2.6 update. There's a specific improvement that we'll cover in a moment, but the one tweak that's more specific to the wizard itself is a replacement graphic. When it first appeared, we had a small round graphic of a broom in action.
In the latest version, that graphic is getting much larger and sports a broom, dust pan (with Google-colored grime), and even some dust clouds.
The graphics aren't really a big deal, but they're a good setup for the next subject.
Suggestions for missing names
The Cleanup Wizard will show a number of different types of suggestions, like adding details from Gmail and merging matching contacts. Another interesting one was revealed in a teardown of v2.4, which promises to remind us to add names to our contacts.
Version 2.7 adds some more context about one of the features we'll see soon. Instead of just pointing out that we should add a name to go with each phone number, Google Contacts will attempt to give real suggestions based on other information.
Basically, with each contact that's missing a name, the Contacts app will try checking a few different things in an attempt to give a name to the person. For example, if there is an address, Google will look through saved locations and try to find an associated name to match. Right now, there aren't many sources, including just Maps, your Google profile, and what I assume is going to be your corporate directory.
<string name="default_add_missing_name_title">Add missing names</string>
<string name="existing_name">Existing name</string>
<string name="add_names">Add names</string>
<string name="suggested_name">Suggested name</string>
<string name="suggestion_from_source">Suggestion from %s</string>
<string name="suggestion_from_google_maps">Google Maps</string>
<string name="suggestion_from_google_profile">Google profile</string>
<string name="header_text">Suggestions based on available info</string>
<item>Add %d missing names</item>
<item>Add %d missing name</item>
<item>Added %d missing names</item>
<item>Added %d missing name</item>
Contact list widget
Contacts already offers a trio of little 1x1 widgets for quick access to calling or messaging a person, or simply opening up their details. However, it looks like a new widget is coming soon. This one is called "Contact List."
There's already a preview image included in the app. It shows a dark grey background with contact photos spanning across it.
<string name="reconfigure_widget">Tap to reconfigure</string>
Judging from other clues scattered throughout the APK, it looks like the widget can change as data changes within the app. I can't be sure yet, but I get the sense that it might allow users to pick a list of contacts, a bit like how you can use the overflow menu to customize views. This might also make it possible to have it show your most frequently contacted people, or those that were used recently.
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.