Google finally opens up access to its Contacts app to all users

I have never had the privilege of owning any Google device, yet. By Google device I mean the Nexus devices that Google previously partnered with various device makers to bring to the market and the Pixel devices that are widely hailed as the first “Google-made smartphones”. Part of the reason why that is so is because save for a brief moment in 2012 when we could buy the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Google devices have never really been as accessible to those of us in places like Kenya. Getting one means incurring lots of extra expenses by way of importation fees or paying through the nose.

That is not to mean that I have never salivated at some of the features they pack and the vision of Android as executed by Google on those devices. Nexus, and now, Pixel, devices always seem to get the best of Google stuff first. It’s not hard to see why. The camera app from Google, the contacts app among others. Most importantly, they are always first in line to get updates.

While we are still far from sharing the same table with Google devices when it comes to receiving timely updates, we can take consolation in the fact that it will now be easier to manage our contacts. This is because Contacts, the Google app exclusive to Nexus and Pixel devices, is finally available to everyone. The only catch is that a device needs to be running at least Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and up. If the most recent Android platform distribution figures are anything to go by, that’s three quarters (75%) of all Android devices as of early August.

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The app itself is pretty basic and lives up to its name of making it easy to manage contacts. Upon installing it from the Play Store, it showed me contact groups I created way back in 2010 that I had forgotten about. It also made me realize that the Huawei P10 (and I guess the Mate 9 as well) creates a new contacts group/label called “PREDEFINED_HUAWEI_GROUP_CCARD” and uses it to group contacts added by scanning business cards using EMUI’s contact app. I wouldn’t have known it existed otherwise.

Importing and exporting contacts as well as managing any blocked contacts is easy. Just click the settings menu at the bottom of the harmburger menu.

Get Google Contacts from the Play Store.

 

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Emmanuel Chenze

Let's just say I know my stuff. I have 7 years experience handling, tinkering with and then writing extensively about Android stuff. Sometimes it is exciting, sometimes it is not; things can get stale with nothing new to show but I live for each one of those moments. Have something Android-related that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze@androidkenya.com