For many of us who use Google products inside and outside of work, Google Contacts is an essential app. It runs behind the scenes to keep our phones and Gmail inboxes updated with the data we need to keep in touch with the people in our lives.
It's also popular among small business owners who need a simple, free, and reliable contact management system across multiple devices.
Going beyond being just a phone address book, Google Contacts offers fields and segmentation options that enable you to easily organize contacts from your phone book and inbox.
Here’s our guide to importing and exporting data with the app’s built-in functionality, as well as using third-party solutions to sync Google Contacts with apps such as Outlook, iCloud, or your CRM.
What Type of Integration Do You Need?
Before integrating Google Contacts with other apps, take a moment to think about the type of integration you need.
Do you need a simple import and export? You can manually move contacts into and out of your apps using the in-app functionality that Google Contacts, iCloud, Outlook, and CRMs offer.
Do you need a one-way push triggered by an action? You can achieve this with trigger-action automation platforms such as Automate.io, Tray.io, and Zapier.
Do you need your apps in sync? And should this be a one-waysync (from Google Contacts to another app, but not back again) or a two-way sync? You can create both types of syncs with iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) apps or sometimes with native integrations.
To learn more about alternatives to importing and exporting contacts from Google Contacts and Gmail, head over to our in-depth guide. Or, keep reading for the specifics of how to sync Google Contacts with Outlook, iCloud, and your CRM...
Sync Google Contacts with Outlook
1. Import and Export
This is the simplest solution to move data from Google Contacts into Outlook and perfect for one-off contact transfers, but it doesn’t provide a true data sync as contact synchronization does.
You can find the ‘Export’ option on your Google Contacts dashboard and choose to migrate your contact data in Outlook CSV format. (If you want to move data from Outlook into Google Contacts, you can find the ‘Import’ option here too.)
In Outlook on the web, you use the People page to create, view, and edit contacts, contact lists, and groups.
You can navigate to the toolbar and select Manage > Import contacts to import the file you've exported from Google Contacts.
This is also where you can export data to import into Google Contacts, if you want to move data in that direction instead.
2. Contact Synchronization
To enable your contact data to move freely in two directions between Google Contacts and Outlook, you can use a third-party integration for contact synchronization. This will sync the right data between your apps and make updates as soon as anything changes in either app.
Contacts+ is a good solution to create a unified address book for your Google, Apple, and Microsoft contacts that’s kept automatically in sync.
With a Premium Plan, changes are pulled from your Google, iCloud, and Exchange/Office 365 accounts in real-time, and changes made in Contacts+ will immediately push back to connected accounts.
This is a good approach if you don’t need to sync your contacts with other apps, such as your CRM or email marketing platform.
You can also choose other iPaaS providers that offer a real-time, two-way sync between Google Contacts and Outlook as well as the other apps in your stack.
Sync Google Contacts with iCloud
1. Import and Export
As with Outlook, this is a simple way to move data once from Google Contacts into iCloud for instances when you don’t need a proper data sync.
Before you get started, here’s a key thing to know about your iCloud data: every contact you have in iCloud appears on a virtual card called a vCard, so it’s important to export your contacts from Google Contacts in this format.
You can export your contact data from Google Contacts by clicking ‘Export’ on the Dashboard and selecting vCard format. You can then upload this straight into iCloud by:
Navigating to Contacts on iCloud.com.
Clicking the Action pop-up menu in the sidebar, then choosing Import vCard.
This will add contacts to the All Contacts group, but you can drag them into groups if you want to organize them differently.
To create a true integration between Google Contacts and iCloud, you can use Contacts+ or an iPaaS to keep the data in each app connected.
This enables you to update contacts in one app and instantly reflect the change in the other app.
You can also create certain conditions about which data you wish to sync, such as only syncing contacts in Google Contacts that have the label ‘US-based’ with iCloud.
Sync Google Contacts with Your CRM
It’s easy to sync Google Contacts with your CRM – and recommended, too. As contact management best practice, it’s a good idea to centralize all contact data in your CRM and sync relevant data with your other apps.
Tip: Before syncing Google Contacts with your CRM, make sure the data is clean. Don’t make the mistake of syncing poor-quality data with your other apps!
1. A Native Integration with Google Contacts
Many CRMs natively connect with Google Contacts, offering you a built-in solution to sync your apps with a few clicks. Check your CRM’s integrations marketplace for this, and look to see if it’s a one-way or two-way connection.
If it’s one-way (and only pushes your data from Google Contacts into your CRM, or vice-versa) you won’t get an accurate and up-to-date sync if something changes in the target app.
If it’s a two-way sync, you should get a clean data sync that reflects the latest changes to your contact data in both apps. This is also what contact synchronization achieves (see point #4 below), although that has the advantages of enabling a more customized sync as well as two-way syncs with your other key apps too.
2. Import and Export
You should only consider this option if it’s a one-off process and the contacts in the source app won’t change. You can import and export contacts from Google Contacts from the Dashboard, or on your CRM’s dashboard.
If you need to update changes in the source data in the target app, your best option is to use two-way contact synchronization for your sync instead.
3. Trigger-Action Automation
This type of automation enables you to set workflows consisting of triggers and actions between Google Contacts and your CRM. This isn’t your best option for syncing contact data (choose contact synchronization for this instead), but it’s great for triggering actions and updating other types of data.
For example, when a new contact is created in Google Contacts, you could use Zapier to trigger actions in HubSpot such as a new form submission, new Deal, or new calendar task for your sales reps.
By connecting your data between your apps, you’re in a great position to make your business run more smoothly and reduce your time spent on manual updates. Get started connecting Google Contacts with iCloud, Outlook, or your CRM for simple and effective syncs that have a quick impact on your business operations.
Originally published May 22, 2020 10:38:09 AM, updated May 22 2020