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  • Sam Chung

Why you shouldn't rely on Shared Contacts for Gmail Apps

Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Shared Contacts for Gmail vs. Standalone Shared Contacts with Google Sheets

Have you ever run into a situation where you needed to quickly look up the contact details of a business associate, clients or partners and need to share with your team? You might have met them during your meeting, email or calls. However, you can’t remember their contact details and you don’t have an easy way to share their email address to your team. That’s where Google Workspace shared contacts app comes into the picture.

If you have a Gmail account, you can find many shared contacts for gmail apps in the market which allows you to share important contacts to your team with a few clicks. If you have a shared contacts app for gmail, it would be convenient to share contacts with your colleagues and easily contact your clients or partners.

This convenient feature, however, can cause a lot of unexpected problems. Here’s why you shouldn’t rely on the Shared Contacts for gmail apps for sharing contact details.

Problem with Shared Contacts for Gmail Apps

The app relies on Google Workspace and Gmail, which means it limits how many external contacts or files you can manage. According to Google Help guide, You can only add up to 200,000 external contacts or 40MB of storage space - whichever comes first. So adding more than that is not possible with this type of application.

Shared Contacts for Gmail apps utilize APIs such as Domain Shared Contacts API, and the downside is that it does not allow for a two-way sync with your shared contacts on the desktop side.

This causes a lot of issues, including duplicate contacts. If you have multiple domains and email alias accounts in Google Workspace, then some features may be partially working.

Changes are not always saved fully because the app and its application server have to sync periodically, but their server, API, and Google workspace itself aren't always 100% reliable all the time. Note that Google provides no technical support for the APIs except a self service guide and community support.

Another issue is that since you are using a shared app for Gmail and If you have a lot of labels, it causes even having those labels populate. Let alone the hassle of going through each and every one while you look at an endless sea of spinning sync wheels. Almost unusable.

The app requires you to grant access to your entire Google account in order for the software to work. The software must also manage your domain settings, see users in a domain and even manage Google Workspace licenses. To name a few, you must allow it access by granting the following:

  • See your personal info, including any personal info you've made publicly available

  • Manage your domain settings as well as managing Google Workspace licenses for your domain

  • See, edit, download, and permanently delete your contacts

  • Manage data access permissions for users on your domain

  • See info about users on your domain

The worst part of using this service is what happens if you decide to cancel it one day. If you do, the entire shared contact function will be gone and you'll have to start from scratch again. You must continue paying for the service in order to use these services since they are tied into your account!

Other options for sharing contact details

In lieu of paying for the shared contacts in gmail apps, you can instead utilize google workspace's contact feature or share your Google Sheets and import to your contacts.

Alternatively, use a standalone shared contacts app so you don't have to worry about all these problematic issues and just use the app whenever you need to look up, add, or edit shared contacts.

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