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I setup Google Contacts in Google Apps for several people. I'm wondering if there is any way to share (at least some of) the contacts between everyone in this domain. Similar to how you can share your Calendar with people in the same domain.

I know about enabling Contact sharing, but it seems like that will only share the contact information of people in the same domain. I'm looking for an easy way to share the hundred or so non-domain contacts.

Now that it has ActiveSync/Exchange support, are there any workarounds available at least?

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6 Answers 6

up vote 8 down vote accepted

There is really no good contact sharing. There is a global contacts list for your domain but it cannot be managed through the Google interfaces. It can be used via a custom program using the contacts API, and there are some 3rd party tools that are good. One recommendation is called SherpaTools, its in the market place for free.

I work as a Google Apps re-seller, and this has been one of the largest pain points for customers so far. For what its worth, its also one of the most requested things to address for Google Apps suggestions. Hopefully they are working on it.

In short, your best bet is to use a tool or program to import your existing shared contacts into the domain shared contacts list. It's worth noting that even after you do this, users should be able to search these contacts from their own contacts list, they show up in search results and a note is displayed that the result came from the global list when a contact is selected.

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So there's no way to see all the contacts in the Global Address List? –  Senseful Jul 1 '10 at 21:24
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Unfortunately not within the Google interfaces yet. Huge missing feature IMO. –  Brad Gardner Jul 2 '10 at 12:29
    
+1 for finding the only free shared contact interface in existence it seems –  Earlz Jun 14 '11 at 22:09
    
SherpaTools has been retired. It was replaced by FlashPanel flashpanel.com/welcome –  Raj More Jul 18 '13 at 13:50

We use the Floreysoft Shared Contacts app for Google Apps on our domain. Very flexible sharing options and integrates nicely into the Google Apps interface. Highly recommended.

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https://leansync.com shares contacts on top of Google Contacts (independent of whether they belong to a domain or not). Anyone on AddressPush maintains just his own contact details and any changes are pushed to all (trusted) contacts. Of course this synchronizes to mobile devices etc via Google Sync (in realtime) as well. Backups etc. can be done via the Google Interface.

The best thing is that the way it works it solves all issues with outdated, missing and duplicate contacts...

Disclosure:

W.r.t. to the comment below: I'm the original author of this answer (somehow StackExchange does not recognize my earlier OpenID anymore) and owner of the above linked website.

The terms of service were initially placed on the sign up page and in the meantime have been moved here: https://leansync.com/privacy

Leansync is a purely private effort and not backed (yet) by a company.

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Warning: website contacts no company information or TOS. I tried to use it but it doesn't seam to work. I hope its not a scam or somebody collecting contact information. –  sorin May 22 '11 at 7:54

The best application out there for sharing contacts with Google Apps is Gmail Shared Contacts. Setting up sharing is as simple as sharing a document, with a google friendly UI. After, you just have to modify contacts in the gmail contact manager and it will get synced to other users!

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Are you affiliated with the developers of Gmail Shared Contacts in any way? If so, you should disclose it. –  Vidar S. Ramdal Nov 29 '12 at 11:19

There are three ways to share external contacts within Google Apps

  1. Google Apps "domain shared contacts". These are visible to everyone in the Google Apps "organization"; you can't limit to only some people unless you create multiple organizations separating your Google Apps users. Currently require a 3rd party tool or API use to create or edit, I recommend the free SherpaTools Directory Manager for this (although I've seen indications Cloud Sherps may retire this tool for a new one.) This does allow you set who can create or edit and it does not have to be an administrator. These contacts will pop up in type-ahead for everyone. These contacts can be created in a one-way sync from contacts in Active Directory if you use GADS.
  2. A third party sharing app such as floreysoft, to allow sharing lists of contacts among a group of people. This does work, but is a huge fiddle and a real cost. The install is into your instance of Google App Engine, the installation is non-trivial, and many things can go wrong during normal usage - mostly due to interactions that can happen with the Google contact "find duplicates" feature. Just read this FAQ to see what can go wrong. Costs are the app cost in the range of a few hundred dollars a year plus a minimum of $2.10/week from Google App Engine. Despite what can go wrong, I am using this and it does work for small group sharing. I decided against using floreysoft for larger department mailing list management due to the gotchas.
  3. The fairly recent Google Apps feature to delegate contacts. This allows one person to make their contacts available one or more other Google Apps users to see and edit.
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FullContact is another cloud address book service that syncs contacts & shared lists between Google accounts. It also cleans the contacts and updates them with the most recent social profile data, so your team isn't stuck with all having the same, outdated info for a contact.

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