Cobook, a Mac contact management app which offers an improved experience over the default OS X address book (at least, that’s a popular opinion), has released an update today which introduces a notable new feature: the ability to sync with Google Contacts. That’s a great selling point for this free software application, which previously pulled in contacts from the Mac’s native address book, as well as from social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
For Mac users who prefer Gmail and/or Android instead of buying into everything in the Apple universe, this is definitely a useful tool. But what’s even better is that, unlike with OS X’s Address Book’s built-in sync, Cobook’s sync is smarter and conflict-free. (Dealing with conflict resolution is one of the most annoying things about the native OS X app – especially if you have a large address book.) Cobook will also sync tags, social profiles and other fields beyond the usual name/address/phone/email info, as well.
It’s worth pointing out, too, in the wake of address book privacy slip-ups on iOS, Cobook respects user privacy and data security – it doesn’t upload your address book to its servers. CEO Kaspars Dancis says he believes it’s important for a contact management solution to pay “maximum attention” to privacy and security. “For us, it’s the top priority next to user experience,” he says.
Other new additions debuting in the 1.1 release (which Dancis admits is more of a “2.0″ but given that it’s only been three months since launch, he went with “1.1″) include support for Xing, a new feature that now shows local time next to phone numbers and addresses, and various usability and design improvements.
Since the company’s launch earlier this year, the free Mac app has reached a quarter million downloads and now has about 80% 5-star ratings in the Mac App Store. Not bad for a bootstrapped startup out of Latvia. The app is free for now, but Dancis says the vision remains the same – he wants to make Coobook a freemium product in the future and expand the service to other devices. “We do believe that there is a big gap between simple address books and CRM systems,” says Dancis. “Especially non-sales people are seriously lacking a decent contact management solution. Some try to use simpler CRMs but it’s still an overkill and a bit like using a tractor to drive to supermarket,” he says. (So true!)
The new version of Cobook is now in the Mac App Store here.