Another attempt at fixing the address book problem

Hiya taps the WhitePages database to update contact information.

HiyaDup.pngOne of the major advantages of WhitePages’ new contact app/service, Hiya, is tucked behind the scenes: the app mines WhitePages’ database of 200 million listings to update phone numbers and addresses for a user’s contacts.

Hiya can flag duplicate entries and suggest contacts who may need to update their information. (And people do not have to register for the service to update their details.)

Hiya also incorporates location awareness, but it’s a variation on the location theme. Using the GPS on a user’s device, the app pulls data on nearby addresses of contacts. The app does not show physical locations or check-in trails.

Many of the features in Hiya tie back to an online study that asked more than 2,000 adults to identify their frustrations with current contact management platforms (the “address book problem” is something we’ve covered for quite a while).

A press release announcing HIya highlighted the main issues:

The biggest problems people have with managing their contacts is keeping information up-to-date (48 percent) and compiling missing data (19 percent), followed by keeping contacts all in one place (17 percent). The pieces of information most frequently missing from people’s main methods of storing contact data was physical addresses (40 percent) and birthdates (45 percent). Furthermore, 50 percent of those who store personal contact information indicated that they have duplicate contacts.

Hiya is available as an online service and a free iPhone app. Future contact support will tap Yahoo, Facebook, MSN Live, LinkedIn, and CSV files. Integration with Outlook, Android, and Blackberry is planned for later this year.

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