Mozilla Labs Seeks to Tame Your Address Book With ‘Contacts’

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Mozilla Labs has a new goal — saving your contacts list from the chaos of the web.

If you’re like most of us, your contacts are probably spread out all over the place — in your webmail provider, on social networks like Twitter or Facebook, on your mobile and maybe even hiding in a desktop address book app.

In short, your contacts are a vast, sprawling jungle. Mozilla Labs wants to solve that problem and a new project, dubbed, appropriately enough, Contacts is aiming to help you centralize and organize your various lists.

The Contacts project works by using the browser to sort, organize, access and share your contact data. The information is stored in a local database and — should the project take flight — will eventually be synced across platforms by the Weave add-on.

contactsA prototype of the Contacts interface. Click the image for a larger view.

For now, the most notable features of the Contacts add-on is some very nice auto-completion in web forms. The features is roughly analogous to what Gmail does in the To field of your e-mails, but obviously Contacts’ auto-completion works on any website.

To build the database, Contacts will pull your info from GMail, Twitter and the Mac address book. Mozilla has promised that the list of supported apps and web services will be expanded shortly thanks to the importer API (which eventually will be public, meaning other add-ons can access it).

The other nice thing about Contacts is the per-site privacy control which make it relatively easy to control which sites can grab which data.

Like Mozilla’s Raindrop experiment, Contacts has loads of potential and might one day be another must-have part of Firefox, but for now the add-on is very rough.

If you’d like to take it for a spin there’s an experimental, pre-alpha version of Contacts available for download. Just keep in mind that Contacts is very experimental code and could crash your browser.

If you like what you see in Contacts or you have ideas on how to improve it, be sure to let Mozilla know.

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