Last week, I wrote an article teaching you how to keep your inbox protected from spam. Today, I’ll show you how to manage and organise your Gmail contacts more efficiently and make them more relevant.
If you are a BlackBerry user, you may be familiar with an app called Xobni. Xobni brings a lot more features and organization to your contacts. It was only available for BlackBerry and Outlook users but now they have expanded to offering a service called Smartr to Gmail and Android users. In this article, I’ll show you how to set up the Gmail version.
What is Smartr for Gmail?
Smartr is a browser add-on or plug-in for Firefox, Chrome and Safari that handles contacts and your interactions with them in a whole new way:
- Your contacts are not kept in the usual alphabetical order but in order of importance
- Information is retrieved from social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, in order to provide more complete contact profiles, even showing your contact’s recent activities on those networks and contacts you may have in common with them
- Browsing and composing emails is a lot easier. As you add emails, Smartr suggests other contacts you generally email together at the same time. Also, while you are browsing an email, Smartr shows you contacts and their profiles that are including in that email.
I’m sure there are more features that I’ve left out but as you can see, Smartr can make using Gmail a whole lot easier and more powerful. Here’s how to get yourself started with Smartr for Gmail.
How to set up Smartr for Gmail
Start by downloading and installing Smartr for your particular browser the same way you would any add-on or plug-in. Head to the download page, click the appropriate button and follow the instructions. If you’ve installed add-ons or plug-ins before, you should be all set.
The next step is to create a Xobni account. In order to do that, you must head to Xobni’s front page. The quickest way I could find to get to the account creation page was to click on the Log In link at the top of the page (or follow this link).
Follow the instructions, fill in the fields and that’s about it.
Now you’re ready to sign in to your Gmail account and being to experience Smartr. You should see Smartr as a sidebar to the right asking you to add your Gmail account. Click on that.
Then, provide Xobni access to your Google products.
Note: Smartr may try to load contacts continually instead of asking you to add your Gmail account. If this happens, clear your browser cache and log in to Gmail again. This should clear things up.
Finally, Smartr will prompt you to add your social networks. At this time, only three social networks are listed: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
The social networks you add will also ask you to grant permission for Smartr (or Xobni) to access information so your contacts’ information can be retrieved and updated.
Give it a few moments and your contacts, and their information, will be pulled into one handy contact manager that sits right next to your Gmail page. Using it feels very comfortable and there isn’t much of a learning curve. It feels like it fits right into your regular emailing process.
Smartr will automatically show you a list of contacts as you type their email address into the To: field. After that, it will display a list of contacts who are are usually emailed together.
As mentioned earlier, there is also now a Smartr Android app that includes many features making managing your contacts simpler, including syncing with your Xobni account. Download the app from the Android Market.
Have you tried Xobni or Smartr before? What do you think of Smartr’s new way of handling contacts in Gmail?