Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gmail and Google Contact Groups: At last, simple paste of a list of email addresses

I've not seen mention of this, but for me it's the biggest improvement to Gmail/Google Contacts in months. Heck, it may be the most valuable thing Google has done for me in 2011.

Years ago, when Gmail was definitely beta, we could create email "lists" (Groups) by pasting a list of email addresses into a text field. Gmail would digest the list and create a Group. Google removed this functionality, perhaps to reduce abuse by spammers. Instead we had to create Groups one member at a time. This was a serious PITA for the various sports teams and organizations I work with.

I gave up hope that Google would ever restore this functionality, but today I discovered they have -- probably in the past few weeks.

It's subtle, but the UI for creating a Group, or adding email addresses to a group, is now an expandable multi-line text box. If you paste in a list of email addresses Google will match them to existing Contacts and add the Contacts to the Group. Failed matches become new email-address-only members.

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