Gwabbit Outlook add-on is pwetty wame

Despite a neat, timesaving concept, Outlook add-on Gwabbit proved to be a butterfingers in our tests, letting too much contact information swip frough its widdle wabbit fingers.

Gwabbit logo

Gwabbit (covered here and here) is one of those programs I sincerely want to like. The Microsoft Outlook add-on that can populate an Outlook contact field in a click has a catchy name invoking all manner of iconic "wabbit" images, and a concept applicable to the breadth of office employees. However, it also has a finicky algorithm, at least in my case. It required too much manual labor to finish populating an incomplete contact record, and a $20 price tag for a version 1.0 application that may only work half the time.

Gwabbit contact-add
Gwabbit can populate your Outlook contact list with details from an e-mail. (Credit: CNET)

In Gwabbit's defense, when the application behaved as promised, it did so well. When Gwabbit detects an e-mail in the reading pane or when an e-mail is fully opened, the application first searches for as much information as it can in the e-mail address and signature block. Gwabbit then checks if the sender is already an Outlook contact. If not, or if the contact details have changed, Gwabbit will notify you--within about five seconds--with a pop-up alert from the Gwabbit toolbar it installed. If you accept the contact's inclusion, you'll have the person's full details pasted into a record without ever having to retype phone numbers, their title, and so on.

Unfortunately for me, Gwabbit often got confused. It repeatedly attempted to record the all-clear tag that AVG Anti-Virus pastes to the bottom of incoming messages as my contacts' company addresses. It also tried creating an entry that paired my CNET signature with my co-worker's e-mail address--more than once. Sadly, even when I went through the trouble of highlighting a clearly delineated signature block in Gwabbit's internal viewer (labeled "Improve Results,") the program failed to grab the signature.

AVG confuses Gwabbit
This security stamp at the end of my e-mail confused Gwabbit more than once. (Credit: CNET)

A Gwabbit representative I spoke with agreed that the newbie application isn't perfect, but cites an 80 percent accuracy rate during normal circumstances and 95 percent accuracy when you highlight overlooked contact details in the 'improved results' pane. Sadly, my experience ranked at about 30 percent accuracy.

Gwabbit--improve results
This slow workaround reneges a one-click claim. (Credit: CNET)

Assuming Gwabbit operated flawlessly at all times, I would still administer a few critiques. I'd like to be able to add a contact from the context menu when I right-click the mouse. For a $20 fee, I'd also like the application to include optical character recognition software that can read a company's name from an image (images currently confuse Gwabbit. They also happen to be ubiquitous.) Finally, Gwabbit should be able to populate a contact record after you highlight a signature bar and click the "gwab" button--not after going through a separate process within the application.

Still, I may be more of an outlying case than most folks who would benefit from Gwabbit, and who would fall into the 80 percent accuracy category. That's the beauty of trial software--you can take my word as a guideline and let your own experience guide your purchasing decision. The 14-day trial is free to download after you register your e-mail address with Gwabbit. If your antivirus application doesn't stamp every incoming e-mail and if you meet a sizable number of business contacts via e-mail, you may find Gwabbit useful yet for one-click contact adding. Let me know in the comments how you fare.

About Jessica Dolcourt

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.