Google Cloud Apps Admins

Outlook Contacts vs Google Contacts

Written by Joey Allen (GCP Apps Admin) | February 12, 2016

If you use both Google Apps and Microsoft Outlook you can take advantage of Google Apps Sync. One of the many features of Google Apps Sync is that it allows you to have your personal contact information imported and synchronized between Outlook and Google.

Automatic features of synchronizing

Once you've synchronized the Outlook and Google interface, you can find contacts by using "My Contacts" in Google or by entering an address in an e-mail message. Via both Google contacts and Outlook, you can view all of your global contacts.

Without Google Apps Sync, you cannot access contact information in Outlook not supported by Outlook, such as "Google Voice" information. However, you can view this information in Outlook as a read-only attachment if you integrate using Google Apps Sync.

Features that must be transferred manually

Some Outlook features are not automatically synchronized into Google. For example, if you want distribution lists from Outlook to appear as Google groups, you will have to recreate lists in Google as Google groups. You will also have to manually organize contacts that are grouped as "family" or "friends" in Outlooks using Google's personal groups feature in Google Apps.

Things to be aware of

When it comes to making updates between Google Apps and Outlook, the resulting changes in Outlook may not always come out as desired or expected. You might notice information doesn't transfer between the two interfaces identically, and you may even see a conflicting error come up if you attempt to make a change in Google Apps.

Additionally, keep in mind the following limitations of Google Apps Sync. The following factors will not be synchronized between Google Apps and Outlook:

  • Contact flags- If you flag a contact in Outlook the flag will not appear in Google Apps. Information relevant to the flagged contact is not sent to them, so the Google Apps interface will not show these changes.
  • Description formatting- Rich formatting specifications such as bolding and links in Outlook will show as plain text when they appear in Google Apps,  if you want any of these features you will have to manually apply it into Google Apps. 
  • Larger contact notes- Contact notes larger than 16 kilobytes entered in Outlook are shortened when it appears in Google Apps.
  • Categories- Google Apps doesn't have the same category classifications as Outlook. This means that the categories assigned in Outlook will not show up in Google Apps.