Google added “Highlights” to Contacts in December that made the Android app decidedly more than just a list of people. That Google Contacts feed now has a “For you” section that shows upcoming birthdays.
Slotting in between Favorites and Recents is the “For you” section that shows upcoming birthdays. You see the contact’s profile picture and name, as well as the date and a countdown to it. You’re then provided shortcuts to Call or Text.
This is similar to what Messages already does, while you might be familiar with Google Assistant notifications that have the same purpose.
It’s a nice capability to have but certainly not crucial, which could be said of the Highlights tab in general. We’re seeing this live with version 4.2 of Google Contacts, though it might have rolled out earlier.
In a related development, we recently received an in-app survey for the feature, with Google asking “how helpful is Highlights for finding and connecting with people easily.” The company asks which aspect you find most helpful: Viewed recently, For you, Favorites, and Added recently.
- Yes, I took an action to connect
- Not yet, but I intend to take an action to connect
- No, and I do not intend to connect
- No, and I’m not sure if I will take any action to connect
Lastly, Google asks “what else would you find help in Highlights?” With more use since last year, being able to see recently added contacts can be useful at times.
Google has definitely evolved from a list of contacts to an app that lets you also “Fix & manage” and now tries to be proactive. The core list functionality is ultimately not impacted by the addition of Highlights.
It will be interesting to see if Google adds even more functionality going forward. If you squint, there are shades of Google Now/Assistant Snapshot in what Google Contacts is doing here. It becoming a destination for getting assistance related to people in your life could be novel.
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