Is there a link by which I can open the old Google Contact Manager (the one with 3 columns layout)? It allowed instant search and the ability to view contact details on the same page.
At the bottom of the screen is a link to "older version", which points to https://www.google.com/contacts_v1
So, the old version is still around, at least for a little while.
I would expect that there may be some incompatibilities with the new contact manager (some fields not supported for instance; Google+ Circles are definitely not there) and that they may finally kill it altogether. (They've done similar things with other products.)
2013-12-02: As predicted, the original version of Google Contacts is no longer available. (I don't know exactly when they took it away.)
Thank you for your interest in this question.
Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.
Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?