Google Contacts, the address book built into Gmail, lets you keep track of all your contacts, see when you last interacted with them, and more.
Last updated September 5, 2014. Please visit the official site for the most up-to-date information.
Some apps are so tiny, you could almost forget they existed—and yet, they’ve got more power that you would do well to take advantage of. That’s exactly the type of app Google Contacts is. It’s just the address book that’s built into Gmail. Likely the only way you use it is when Gmail helps you auto-fill email addresses from Google Contacts, or when you add a new contact from your phone and it’s silently synced. Dig deeper, though, and there’s so much more in Google Contacts.
Every address book has space to store nearly as much data as you could possibly want about a contact, and Google Contacts is no exception. Want to keep track of your contacts’ addresses, multiple emails and phone numbers, birthdays, websites, and more? All of that and more are ready for you to use in Google Contacts. You can also add free-form notes about your contacts, giving you a great way to save notes to yourself about customers, colleagues, and more. It could just remind you of your friend’s allergies for the next time you’ve invited them over, but it could also be the place you store your professional interactions with others.
But then, Google goes a bit further by integrating Contacts with its Google+ network, which lets it automatically add extra info to your contacts—like their picture, the university they attended, their hometown, or the companies they’ve worked for and positions they’ve held. If your contact changes their email and shares the new address in their Google profile, you’ll automatically have it in your address book.
That’s only helpful if you add people to your address book, which is easy to forget to do. But don’t worry: if you use Gmail, Google Contacts will automatically notice the people you’re emailing most, and add their contact info to a Most Contacted list, complete with their Google+ info. Combine that with Gmail’s search and extensive archive of your mail, and you almost don’t have to worry about losing a contact again.
If you’re using Google Contacts inside your company, there’s another great feature you’ll like: Directory. You can add all of your company’s important contacts and their info to one central list that everyone with a company email address will automatically see. No more searching for the correct email address for the guy down the hall.
Then, there’s one more feature that’s especially handy, and makes Google Contacts even more like a basic CRM: the Recent Conversations tool. Select a contact, click the More button near the top of the page, and select View Recent Conversations. You’ll then see a custom search that finds all of your emails relating to that contact, giving you an easy way to followup on messages you otherwise might have forgotten about. And, when you’re reading an email from a contact, you’ll see their contact and Google+ info in the sidebar of the message, along with recent emails.
All those features make Google Contacts a great address book, and give you basic CRM functionality without any extra effort. If you’re a Gmail user already, take a few minutes to explore the extra features Google Contacts gives you—you’ll likely find some features like these that help you work more efficiently and stay in touch better.
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