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New iPhone App "Friends" Gives Social Contact Aggregation A Warm Embrace

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The other day, a reader emailed me asking what I use as a contact manager probably thinking I had one killer solution. But I told them that sadly I have to use a combination of Gmail, MobileMe, LinkedIn, and a few other services to get include all the people I may want to contact. And that’s especially a pain on my iPhone as it involves opening several different apps and/or websites to get to those contacts. But a new app coming out today for the iPhone and iPod touch goes a long way in easing that pain.

Friends is an app that allows you to easily manage your contacts across your phone’s address book, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace. Once you login to each of these accounts from within the app, your contacts are synced to provide you with one killer list of people you’re connected with. Just the Twitter and Facebook syncing alone makes this app well worth the $1.99 price.

But it actually is much more than just a contact organizer. It also allows you to see friend streams and update your own status from within the app. And it’s a pretty nifty way to browse articles, photos, and videos your friends are sharing as well. And you can see comments on all these items, and comment on them yourself directly from within the app. It’s really, really slick.

You can also place calls from within the app. But just like the Google Voice iPhone app and others, this essentially allows you to dial in the app then it kicks you out to the iPhone’s phone app to make the actual call. Still, it’s a nice little feature to have.

All of this may sound a bit cluttered for an app, but Taptivate, the team behind Friends, has done a really nice job with the UI. It reminds me quite a bit of the Birdfeed Twitter client app (which was eventually bought by Brizzly — which itself was eventually bought by AOL).

You can find Friends in the App Store here. Again, it’s a $1.99 download.

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