Google Apps Contacts Mature

One of the differences between Google Apps Premier Edition and MS Outlook with Exchange is that Google Apps does not have the concept of the Global Address List. Companies use the GAL to share contacts and distribution lists, even though the GAL is a separate entity from the Personal Address Book, which is also separate from the Contacts folder. So while contacts within Outlook/Exchange is not pretty, the information is available.

As announced on 11-Feb, the following new features are available in Gmail contacts:

  • You can combine multiple contacts into a single entry
  • The new ‘All Contacts’ group includes ‘My Contacts’ and other people with whom you have corresponded
  • You can remove contacts from ‘My Contacts’, leaving them in ‘All Contacts’
  • You can search across all contact fields

What do these features mean?

Contacts and groups are starting to look more like emails and labels, where all contacts are kept in a single place (like All Mail), but you can track your contacts and group contacts more easily. If “All Contacts” becomes a shareable resource, Google Apps will include the GAL functionality some businesses miss, but in a fully integrated way.

Short term, though, you get better organization and search, making Google Apps Premier Edition that much more easy to use.