Skip to content

7 Key Things to Know About Google Contacts

Although it has some major limitations, Google Contacts is one of the better contact management platforms available today. For existing and prospective Google Contacts users, here are 7 key things you need to know.

*Please note, along with death and taxes, one of life’s guarantees is that Google will change its products underneath your nose with little or no warning. Expect Google Contacts to look and/or behave differently at any time.

1. How Do Other Google Products Use Google Contacts?

Google Contacts’ most visible benefit is that it powers the autocomplete feature in Google’s other products, such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar. In Gmail, for instance, as you type in the To, From, or CC  lines, names and emails will pop up. You can select from these options instead of typing the full email.

If you’re seeing weird things show up in autocomplete, this data is probably coming from somewhere in Google Contacts, so start troubleshooting there. Maybe you connected a third-party app that has created some new contacts?

2. Google Groups Versus Google…Groups?

The official “Google Groups” is a message board service that allows you to participate in online discussions, say for a study group, or email numerous people using one email address. This should not be confused with Google contact groups in the Contact Manager. These contact groups are the primary method for organizing your contacts into meaningful collections, such as “Friends,” “Family,” or “Colleagues.” You can create as many custom contact groups as you want. Go nuts.

Important note: these two types of Google “groups” do not sync with each other. They are completely separate.

3. How Many Google Contacts Can You Store?

Both regular Google Contacts and Google Apps Contacts have a limit of 25,000 contacts.

No sweat. That’s a lot of space!

Wait . . . no, it’s not. We regularly run into people with far more than 25,000 contacts. Given that its in Google’s interests to get this data, we don’t understand the storage limit being set at 25,000.

As a side note, Google only lets you import 3000 contacts at a time. If you’re migrating to Google from another system (say, Outlook) and you want to export your contacts in a .csv file, keep in mind that you’ll have to manually split up the .csv into files of 3000 or less contacts before importing into Google.

4. How Does Google Maps Interact With Google Contacts?

Surprisingly, when you save a location in Google Maps, such as your friend’s house or the best Chinese restaurant in town, that does not create a new contact or add information to an existing contact. You don’t even have an option to manually do so.

However, if you have a contact’s address saved in your Google Contacts, you can simply search for their name in Google Maps and their address will pop up. You can also reverse engineer it by searching for an address and any contact who is tied to that address will pop up.

5. How Does Google Calendar Interact with Google Contacts?

Google Calendar does autocomplete using your contacts. The most common situation is a meeting invite. Instead of typing in an email every time, you can select from your existing contacts.

Google Calendar, however, does not create Google Contacts from a new email. So, for example, if you invite someone to a meeting who is not in your Google Contacts, this will not create a Contact like emailing the person does.

What other key information about Google Contacts are we missing?