I’ve been ask a few times about simple Contact Sharing in Google Apps that is similar to Public Folders in Microsoft Exchange. Only recently have I researched a solution and actually found something I liked.

Requirements for this client

The needs are not a CRM (customer relationship manager) type of solution. What they need is just a simple central folder/label style of Contact Storage for all users to see these contacts. They also need the ability for the contacts to be synced to Outlook and Mobile Device

Technically Shared Contacts are built into Google Apps via the Directory which is similar to the Global Address List in MS Exchange. http://support.google.com/a/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=60218. I had found an example script to talk to the Directory API to be able to import but I can’t find it now and this still doesn’t make it easy for end users.

So I looked into Google Apps Marketplace for add-ons.

The 3 Add-ons I tried

Floreysoft UCM
http://ucm-help.floreysoft.net/shared-groups

What I didn’t like is that I couldn’t figure out a way to create a group across all users and then put contacts in said group. It did seem very simple to create shared contacts and then users would see contacts in “My contacts” and see them in auto-fill when composing email.

Not what I was looking for but may fit your needs. Not free

Here is a video explaining their solution

Sherpa Tools
http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/viewListing?productListingId=870+17558944828909963664

I didn’t like this one as well. Mostly for the same reasons above. If it is possible to create a simple group that users can add contacts to I didn’t find it. I will say I only spent 15 min playing with it. I’m looking for super simple and if I cant find what I want in 5 minutes then it’s not the solution I want.

Not what I want but Sherpa Tools has a huge following and install base. They have free and paid solutions.

Here is a video explaining FlashPanel / Shared Contacts

Ginza Contacts (home page featured image courtesy of Ginza Contacts)
http://www.ginzacontacts.com/

This was actually the first one I tried but before I settled on it I wanted to try others first.

This does exactly what I want. I wanted to create a group and put contacts in it for others to see. I wanted to let users either edit or view these contacts. And, it needs to sync to outlook.

Pricing is decent and is calculated on how many users in domain not a per user cost but different price levels. If you have 10 users then you will pay $60 per year. 11-50 users is $180 per year.

The only concern is that as a small (or appears small) company is what happens if they disappear/ go out of business?

Here is a video explaining Ginza Contacts

Overall

Ginza Contacts worked best for this client. I like this solution as well. It was exactly what I wanted, simple.

2 Comments

  1. Niraj Ranjan Rout on August 30, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Thanks for the useful post.

    Another open area in Google Apps is Exchange like Shared Folders, and our product GrexIt (http://grexit.com/shared-labels) add that elegantly by letting users share their Gmail labels. It works over IMAP and syncs email folders, so whatever is shared is also available over any Email client.

    We’re trusted by more than 100 customers around the world. Read reviews and give it a try at our Google Apps marketplace listing: http://www.google.com/enterprise/marketplace/viewListing?productListingId=5337+4027123137344563883

  2. lorennason on August 30, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Thanks Niraj for sharing that as well.

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