Google Contacts is one of the most widely used contact management tools out there. An essential part of Google’s suite of web applications, it stores and organizes contact information, both for personal and professional purposes.
If your business uses GSuite — including Gmail as the email server — you can use Google Contacts as a contact repository for your organization. It’s free to use and works well alongside Google’s other applications, so it’s a popular choice for small businesses that want a simple and budget-friendly tool for contact management.
But how can you make the most of Google Contacts to keep your business’ contact data organized and serving its best purpose? In this guide, we’ll share the best tips and tricks to mastering all that Google Contacts has to offer.
How does Google Contacts work?
Google Contacts mostly runs behind the scenes to keep your contacts on Gmail organized and updated. But it’s more than just an address book: Google Contacts has evolved to offer multiple information fields and segmentation options to organize and manage your contact data — both on your email inbox and even on your phone. Contacts are added automatically to Google Contacts from your Gmail, but you can also edit, enrich, and create new contacts manually.
Each contact record includes basic information, such as first name, surname, job title, email address, phone number, and company. You can also add notes about a contact, as well as creating labels to separate your contacts into groups.
Labels are very handy to segment contacts into groups that make sense for your business, such as ‘New lead,’ ‘Prospect,’ and ‘Customer.’ If you have personal and professional contacts in the same Google Contacts account, you can label them as such to make sure they don’t get mixed up.
If you click on ‘Show more’ in the bottom left corner, you will also have the option to add a lot more information to your contact records, such as prefix, suffix, nickname, birthday, etc. You can also create custom fields for your contacts if you feel like there’s something missing.
Organizing Your Contacts
We mentioned the labels you can add to each contact on Google Contacts. These labels will appear on the left-hand sidebar on your Google Contacts homepage, so you can easily visualize which contacts are in which group, as well as how many contacts are in each group.
In addition to visualizing labels, you can also see an overview of all contacts, frequently contacted, other contacts, and contacts that can be merged or fixed.
Contacts vs. Other Contacts
You might notice that on that left-hand sidebar, there’s an option to see ‘Contacts’ and, at the very bottom, another option for ‘Other Contacts.’ But what’s the difference between these two lists?
On Contacts, you can see the contacts you manually added, or that were added to Google Contacts via an integration or contact sync.
However, if you email someone but haven’t added them as a contact, Google Contacts automatically saves their email address in your Other Contacts group. So, next time you want to email them, their email address will automatically show on Gmail, as a sort of ‘autocomplete’ feature.
If you want to move contacts from Other Contacts to Contacts, simply select them and click the Add to contacts button just above the list. A good reason to do this would be if you want to sync your Google Contacts database to other applications because in this case only the contacts stored in Contacts will be synced.
If you don’t want every contact you email to be saved to Other Contacts, there’s a simple way to deactivate this feature: simply go to your Gmail account and click on the settings icon on the top right corner. In the Create Contacts for Auto-Complete section, select I’ll add contacts myself. Then, at the bottom, click Save Changes.
So, in a nutshell, Contacts is your real contact list, to use and edit. Other Contacts holds everyone you’ve ever contacted via Gmail so that you don’t have to remember their email addresses.
It’s not uncommon to come across duplicate contacts in Google Contacts or Gmail. This means that you may have multiple contact records belonging to the same person, but each one stores separate bits of information.
Luckily, Google Contacts has a handy option to merge and fix contacts. It will automatically detect contact records that might be duplicates and show them under the Merge and Fix option on the left-hand menu. You can then review these contact records and decide if they can be merged or updated.
For example, you may have added the same contact twice to your Google Contacts: once with their email address but no phone number, and another time with their phone number but no email address.
Both contact entries will appear if you go to the Merge and Fix option, allowing you to decide if you want to merge both entries into one. Then, just click on Merge and that’s it — your duplicates are taken care of.
The application will also let you know if there are any changes that you may need to make to your contacts. Just like the duplicates, it will detect contact details that may have suffered changes so you can review them and authorize as needed.
Made a mistake while updating your contacts? Don’t worry, Google Contacts lets you restore your contacts back to any state in the past 30 days. Simply click on the settings icon in the top right corner of the screen and click on Undo Changes. The system will then ask you to choose a time to go back to:
If your business uses GSuite, including Gmail and Google Contacts, you may see an option on the left-hand sidebar that you don’t have on your personal Google Contacts account: the directory.
When going to the directory, you may see contacts that you haven’t entered yourself. So how did they get there?
The directory is basically a list of users and email addresses in your organization’s domain. That’s how Google can auto-complete the email address of your colleagues and schedule meetings with anyone in your company, even if you’ve never emailed them before.
The system administrator controls which email addresses appear in the directory, and they can also remove contacts from it, too.