Brewster launched late last year with a simple goal: Replace your tired old A-to-Z contact list with an address book that actually understands your relationships and, in turn, helps you become a better friend. For some of us, this feels like a hopeless pursuit. We’re overworked, stressed, have terrible breath, and just can’t seem to find enough hours in the day to better manage our personal relationships. It starts in your twenties and gets worse from there.
Sure, Brewster’s mission sounds similar to the one that Plaxo launched with back in 2002, and there are enough smart, mobile address books out there to make your head spin. They’re all trying to simplify contact management, but there isn’t anything out there that’s based on the understanding of the people in your life and how those relationships fit together, which is how founder Steve Greenwood tells us he thinks that the team can actually transform the address book.
Today, Brewster launched its web application to let users enjoy a newly designed, fast Brewster experience on your phone, tablet or laptop. The app also introduces easier and faster contact sharing so that you no longer have to open your address book only to realize you’re missing a close friend’s number or have forgotten to update their work email.
If you’re anything like me, at least once in your life, this has probably happened to you. Or, you want to be a considerate friend and send them a birthday gift, but guess what? You have no idea what their address is. You scramble to find it, and a giant headache ensues and you send a birthday cake to the wrong house. Sigh.
When you scroll through your address book, Greenwood says, it’s almost appalling how much incorrect and incomplete information is in there for all the people you know, even for some of your closest friends. With its new contact sharing functionality, Brewster is looking to bring your relationships “to life” in your address book, enabling you to have each other’s current and complete contact info in your phone — or in your browser.
With one click, the founder says, you can take your contacts from static, probably out-of-date entities to something that’s at least a little more dynamic, and maybe even a realtime representation of the people in your life.
Users sign on and create a personal contact card for the information they want to share with particular friends. You get to decide what information you’d like to share, whether it be phone numbers, emails, addresses, Skype IDs and usernames, etc. At any point, you can edit your contact card and the information you share with those friends and the card will update in realtime across platforms.
The app will list suggested friends based on its relationship algorithms, which Greenwood says “study each user’s closest relationships” in an attempt to streamline the connection process. If you don’t see someone in the list, you can add them yourself manually.
After sending requests to share info with friends and they accept (hopefully), you and those chosen will have complete and up-to-date contact info in your profile — and the same goes for them — or at least that’s the idea. If your friend gets a new job and updates their email address, for example, the new address will automatically update on each profile, for example, so you don’t have to worry about keeping contact info up to date for your close friends. Pretty cool.
Greenwood was sure to point out that users can disable sharing with any contact whenever you want, along with the ability to modify information that’s in your contact card and being shared with those select friends. Just in case you start to feel anxiety over lock-in. There’s a big market for the next-gen, automatically updated mobile contact manager, and, while there’s a lot of competition out there and many have come and gone trying to climb “Contact List Mountain,” but Brewster is off to a good start.