Contacts are added to your native iOS Address Book (called "Contacts" and located on your home screen) by default. This ensures contacts are added locally and synced properly (through iTunes)
The addition of an outside contacts manager (as seen by using Gmail) is an added feature and brought along with Gmail. However, some may simply just want to use Google's email services without storing their contacts. Keeping contacts stored locally on the device is always more beneficial because it has less chance to cause commotion or confusion. Tech savvy people can always change this behaviour, but by default, it is not the optimal choice.
So it's not a change they made, but rather the default setting that simply takes precedent. I'm not sure what version that setting snuck it's way into iOS, I'm sorry.
If you'd like to transfer your contacts from your iPhone to Gmail, you can do the following:
In Windows 7
- In iTunes, make sure you select syncing of your contacts with
Windows Contacts under the Contacts section.
- Once they are present in Windows Contacts, export them to CSV.
- Then head over to Gmail, log in, pull up the Contacts page, and
select "Import" from the "More" drop-down menu.
Note: An easy to follow tutorial can also be found here.
In Mac OS X
Open Address Book after you've synced your iPhone with iTunes.
Click on an entry and hit CMD+A (this will select all the
Then go to File > Export vCard...
Then head over to Gmail, log in, and follow the same "Import"
Note: Additionally, Gmail supports syncing your contacts with your Mac using their Contact Sync service.