Contacts in the Browser 0.2 released

Update: The most recent Contacts release is 0.3. Read about it here

A new version of the Contacts experimental add-on is live today.

If you installed Contacts 0.1, you should be updated automatically. If you are a new user, you can download it here. The changes to the underlying database will require you to re-connect with your contact services.

What is it?

You can read more about Contacts in our original post.

The Contacts experiment explores what is possible when we add contact management to Firefox.

The Contacts add-on integrates with local and web-based address books to bring all of a user’s contact data into a single database, which can then be used by browser extensions or web content. The user must grant permission before any content can be used by a website, and can choose exactly which fields and personal records to disclose.

Try email autocompletion and the address book API at our demonstration page.

Feedback is welcome! Hack on the project source, discuss on our forum, or chat with us on IRC (, #labs).

What’s New?

  • Support for per-service “Refresh”. If you’ve changed your twitter friend list, a single click will update your twitter contacts. This lays the groundwork for automatic refresh in a later release.
  • Per-service data display. In the contact detail screen, you can see where the data about each contact came from.
  • An importer for LinkedIn. Note that you will need to go through a security image to get your information from LinkedIn; they don’t have a fully automatic system yet.
  • An importer for Plaxo. Plaxo was the first site to support Portable Contacts, and we were able to integrate with them using 100% standards-based code. Way to go Plaxo!
  • A “person search” system that automatically finds information about a contact by accessing public data on the internet. When you’re looking at a contact, you can click the “Search” button and Contacts will find information out on the web about the person. Remember, Contacts is only using public search interfaces to do this, and the only communication is between your browser and the target website.
  • We’ve included search implementations for Gravatar, Yelp, Amazon, and Flickr.
  • We’ve also included automatic discovery and loading of Webfinger and HCard data. Webfinger is a new protocol that allows a program to query an email address to get more information about a user. Very few sites support it yet but we’re very excited about it and will be writing more about it soon. HCard is a standard that allows contact information aobut a person to be embedded in a web page.
  • One of the best public implementations of Webfinger and HCard right now is through Gmail and Google Profiles. If a Gmail user has created a Google Profile and made it world-visible, their “” email address will become Webfinger-enabled. Contacts can then query that address to get a list of links, find the HCard link, and load it automatically. The Google Profile includes a small bit of HCard data — mostly employer, name, and a list of links to other websites — which Contacts will automatically add to the user record.
  • Various bugfixes, including international character support on Mac native import, and incorrect rendering on the contact view page.
  • For technical discussion of the changes in 0.2, please visit Michael Hanson’s blog.

What’s Coming?

  • More importers! We’re working through the issues with Thunderbird, Windows, and a bunch of other online services.
  • An open API for import and discovery plugins. Our goal is to enable developers to write a small add-on or Jetpack that adds support for a new site, so users can just drop in support for the services they want.
  • Integration with Jetpack. The Contacts API is a natural fit for the Jetpack “capabilities” model.

9 responses

  1. tramadol wrote on :

    Integration with Yahoo is pending completion of an OAuth login component. tramadol

  2. ocean wrote on :

    i just added this .2 addon, and the options box is grayed out so i can't set it up… any remedy for this? i am using 64bit win 7…thanks

  3. Don Park wrote on :

    As a way to ease into the idea of locally stored contacts, Id like to see a form at chrome://people/content/manager.xul for importing a single contact. I'd like to add a couple people by hand to play with the plugin, but I'm not ready to grant access to gmail, twitter, etc.

  4. Abc wrote on :

    The rendering of the "Allow access" window is all funky, rendering only parts or a completely transparent content area depending on the size of the window. Interaction with the window doesn't work either.
    This is in Firefox 3.6.2 under Gnome 2.30 with xorg-server 1.7.6.

  5. Jigar shah wrote on :

    By Any chance yahoo is in the list ?

    1. mhanson wrote on :

      Integration with Yahoo is pending completion of an OAuth login component. Once that’s working, they’ll be in.

  6. Nat wrote on :

    This is pretty cool. I would love if you could eventually link this in with weave so my contacts could be kept in sync across all of my machines. But whatever the case I look forward to more functionality! Works great so far.

  7. Aaron Mc Adam wrote on :

    For contacts that don't have a First Name filled in, it puts null. This is for Gmail contacts. I need a way to auto-update the names to just the emails if possible.

    1. mhanson wrote on :

      Or, at a minimum, we shouldn’t display null. Thanks!