Released back in February, Guided Ways
contact managing application (iTunes link) Groups
has been updated with many new features. At the time I wrote this review, Groups 1.3.1 averaged 30th position in its category list and was out of the top 100. The application name has changed to a descriptive "Groups: Drag & Drop Contacts Management, Groups Email, Smart Contact Filters, Map contacts) in an aim to showcase its new functionality. When I bought this application back in May had a shorter name and 1.2 was cheaper at that time.
Disclaimer for our freaks: I have paid and used this app for 5 months now. This one spent some time in my home screen, since I would use the "email to group" option a lot at work. After the 2Do
review this week, Guided Ways was nice enough to give me some promo codes for Groups and 2Do. That's perhaps the reason why I'm reviewing Groups now and not TapTapRevenge
3. I want to give the codes to the readers and followers of appfreakblog
so as many people can check it out. This is starting and that's why I want to keep you coming by spamming on twitter
Groups icon was one of the first one that I saw with cut-outs on the icon instead of covering the whole icon surface. It feels a bit lighter for that reason. It resembles a flip contact book page and has a small user icon as a picture and a @ sign. This is well finished, different, bright and light. Notice that I sit it next to Callway
(from the same Dev) which is also nicely designed. They go well together the same way Compass and Convert
When you first open Groups you get a loading page that anticipates the brown theme that is coming next. The whole UI is designed beautifully and the disposition is well thought. Groups uses the contacts in your iPhone contacts and organises them by groups separated in tabs. Every tab and contact has a count badge with the amount of contact information we have: Mobile, Home, email, address, ...
It's nice how Groups uses the data in your Address Book but also makes sense of the last actions done by your iPhone. Recent calls, SMS, email, Google Maps location, link and Groups it belongs to.
All this is displayed in Face View option, that lets you see all that data without scrolling. This is one of the high points of Groups that was used as well in Faces Visual Photo Dialer and awarded by AppAdvice. It changes they way you use your iPhone. Instead of going to phone, looking for the contact name, dialing and realising you only wanted to send this person a SMS. Groups allows you to go right to the groups you want "Flatmates" and select a contact or as many as you want.
To organise all this information, you can drag and drop the contact card to the group you want. You can even make a multiple selection tapping with two fingers and selecting what you want.
Groups also features search function much like spotlight. But perhaps what I like most, and feels kind of old school talking about iPhone is the dialer. You can punch the number keys to type the characters, close the the dev's TeeNiner.
For the best use of this applications is to have your Contact List in the Address Book in your Mac spotless and well organised. I doubt that you could organise a 200 contact list with no groups assigned from scratch with this. But what has been useful for is to make small changes, rearrange groups, sending group emails and having SMS history handy.
The killer use is for adding new contacts, since you can create smart groups with the latest version. I create a folder for contacts with unassigned groups and then sort them manually. This has been proven very useful and for the productivity freak inside some of us, this is good.
I keep birthdays in my contact files sync'd with facebook
, so I can also use the default Birthday folder to sort the contacts that way.
I was doubting to give 5 stars to Groups because it could include contacts from social networks such as facebook, twitter, of other platforms with that API available, although I guess that could be a completely different app. The real downer is that it doesn't allow you to edit the contact's detail. The picture change bug is expected to be solved in the next release.
I can't stop recommending Groups to any iPhone an iPod Touch user with more than 50 contacts in their address book and like to keep it organised. Groups has track of good updates and the current version is bundled with a lot of functionality that you wouldn't expect, the same way you would expect to edit a contact.