App of the Week: FBContacts

Thanks to iCloud, it’s easier than ever to sync your contacts and their info from your Mac to your iOS devices, and back.  Facebook also allows people to share that contact info with friends, sometimes more than they realize.  But the information on Facebook is not always the information you have in your contact book.  Facebook users tend to put their birthdays on the social network, as well as other important information, things that tend not to always be in your Address Book.  FBContacts steps in as the intermediary.

FBContacts works by letting you pull your Facebook friends information and add it into your Mac’s Address Book.  The app can pull things like their website url, phone numbers, email addresses, and more.  It also allows you to use your friends’ Facebook profile pictures as the picture in your Address Book.  Of course for this to work your friends have to be posting reliable information, and not saying they were born in the 1800’s or that their hometown is the bottom of the ocean.  If this is the case, FBContacts can pull down that information and add it to your contact information.  Fortunately, FBContacts has you covered; from the information FBContacts pulls from Facebook, you can choose which of that is added to your contacts list.  That way you don’t have a false birthday listed or don’t want to see everyone’s homepage listed as their Facebook page.

Two concerns immediately come to mind: user privacy and contact overload.  For the first concern, people may be wondering about all that information being pulled off of Facebook so easily.  First, I would point out that if you didn’t want it to be widely known, you

A pretty straight forward interface. Of course I’m not willing to show you my Facebook friends.

probably shouldn’t have put it on Facebook.  That being said, however, FBContacts can only pull the information that you allow your friends to see.  This means some of my friends who have more private settings enabled on Facebook won’t have those bits of information synced to me.

The second concern is by syncing these contacts from Facebook, your Address Book could unnecessarily huge.  This leads me to one of the neat features of FBContacts.  The app can scan the names of people your Facebook friends and intelligently match them up with people of the same name in your Mac’s Address Book.  That way you don’t risk having duplicate contacts, or having all of your Facebook friends listed in your Mac.  After sorting through your Facebook contacts, FBContacts organizes your friends into “Matched”, “Collision”, and “Unmatched”.  Matched are all the contacts it was able to match, and unmatched are those contacts that had no listing in your Mac’s Address Book.  “Collision” is a handy feature for when some information doesn’t add up about a contact, or FBContacts is unsure about syncing information about a certain contact.  From there, you can tell FBContacts whether or not sync a person from any of the three lists, and what info should be synced.

FBContacts has to log into Facebook to pull the contact info and scan through them.  This of course means that the more friends you have, the longer FBContacts will take to pull all the information.  There is another problem regarding how you list people in your own Address Book.  I had a few contacts that I only listed by their first name in my Address Book, but I had multiple friends with that same name on Facebook.  FBContacts, unless you catch it beforehand, will attempt to sync all the people on Facebook of that name to that one contact on your Mac, creating some confusing when you see one person’s picture when you’re trying to call another person of that name.  I did note that I had two contacts with the same first name, we’ll say “Beth”, but I had only attached a last name to one of the “Beth”‘s. FBContacts was able to attach the proper Facebook info to the “Beth” with a last name, and did not attempt to attach it to the other “Beth”, a testament to FBContacts relative intelligence.  Also, if your friends don’t have their birth year listed on Facebook, but their birthday or birth month, then FBContacts lists them as being born in the 1600’s.  A rather strange, but humorous glitch to be sure.

FBContacts icon

Overall, FBContacts is a good way of keeping information synced between Facebook and your Address Book.  While the app doesn’t have an iOS counterpart, iCloud syncing of contacts will allow you to transfer that data between your devices.  FBContacts isn’t an app you’re likely to run everyday, or even every week, but good for a sync every once in a while.  FBContacts is made by Lord Of Software and is available in the Mac App Store for $1.99 (American) and runs on OS 10.6 and higher (Snow Leopard and higher).

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  And check out my Google Plus.  Thanks!

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Posted on June 6, 2012, in App of the Week and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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