From working with business owners and their teams we know only too well that your contact list is one of the most critical sets of data that you have. When we first work with organisations one of the areas that senior leaders especially prioritise is sorting out their contacts – these have often become cluttered, unreliable and synced to varying degrees. Google Contacts is one of the less prominent tools in Google Apps for Work but it can help resolve these sorts of issues and play a key role in helping users get their work done – so we thought it was worth looking at some of the clever things it can do to make your life easier.
First of all, The Contacts page clearly displays all of your information in a number of different lists, including “Most Contacted”, “All Contacts” and customisable groups that allow you access to the people and information you need quickly and easily.
For anyone switching over to a new contacts management tool, importing your existing contacts has to be one of the most important features. Thankfully for Google Contacts, it couldn’t be simpler.
Open Google Contacts, on the left, click Import Contacts. Select the email account where your existing contacts are, click I Agree, Let’s Go! Sign into your email account, click Agree. When the import is finished, click OK.
No More Duplicates
There’s nothing worse than scrolling through your contacts list and finding duplicates unless of course, they have different details in each one which can make it a nightmare to work out which one you’re looking for. Again, Google has opted for a very clear and concise way to solve this problem – On the top menu, click More to open the drop-down menu > Find and Merge Duplicates > Merge. And that’s it, job done, you now have a clean contacts list.
Perfect Syncing Across Devices
One of the strongest features is the seamless syncing across all your devices, whether it’s a phone, tablet, PC, Windows, Mac – you’ll have one consistent record of all your contacts in one place. Once you add any of your contacts to My Contacts, you’ll be able to access them across any of your devices (Android & iOS too). So creating, editing & deleting any contacts on your phone, will perform the same action on your tablet or laptop, keeping your list clean and organised.
To synchronise your devices, just open Settings, tap ‘Mail, Contacts, Calendars’ > Add Account > Google. Enter your email and password, tap Next. Switch Contacts on, select keep or delete existing contacts before syncing. Tap Save at the top, then open Contacts app.
When you have opened contacts > click Menu > Settings > Edit sync groups. From there you can select “Sync all contacts” or “My Contacts” to choose which list you want on your device.
If you’re frequently talking to the same group of people this is for you. You can organise your Google Contacts into groups or sort them alphabetically for easy access in just a couple of clicks. All you have to do is:
Go to Google Contacts, on the left-hand side > New Group. Type new name > Create group.
For existing contacts, you can click the checkbox next to the contacts you want to select > click the Groups drop-down menu at the top, then select which group you’d like to add them to or create a new group.
We’ve had several users who observed that this feature “saved their life”! If you’re clearing out or updating some contacts and accidentally delete some that you shouldn’t have, or realise at a later date that you might actually need that information, don’t panic. It can all be retrieved by using the Restore feature within the left-hand side menu.
Click More > Restore Contacts. Choose the appropriate time frame to include the deleted contacts and then click Restore.
Whenever you add a new user to your Google Apps account, their contact details are added to a global directory. This can be accessed by people in your organisation so it’s easy to find email addresses for collaborating on documents in Drive or setting up conference calls in Hangouts. Users can browse through the directory or search for individual names within their Contact Manager, and as an administrator, you can decide whose details are displayed, as well as whether they can be shared between multiple users or not.
You can browse these shared contacts by clicking on the Directory group in the left side menu, but remember this feature is only available if your Google Apps admin has activated contact sharing in the Admin console.
Overall, Google Contacts is a solid workhorse at the heart of Google Apps for Work but it also includes a few smart features that really take the traditional headaches away from keeping track of all the people you know.
If you’d like any further information on Google For Work or are interested in finding out how your organisation could benefit from taking its first steps into cloud computing, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to have a chat.