Love it or hate it, use it or avoid it, the right-hand sidebar is here to stay. Google first introduced it a while back to give users quick access to things like Tasks, Calendar, and Keep in Gmail and other Google services. A little down the road, they added Google Maps to help you plan out or locate things while conducting business or replying to emails. Now, that space is getting a bit more crowded with the addition of your Google Contacts now appearing in more services.
Contacts were already in the sidebar in Gmail, but now, they’re being added to the right side in Google Chat, Calendar, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This expansion means that you can grab phone numbers, email addresses, and more for those in your circles without having to leave the window you’re working in.
Google Workspace users as well as those rocking a G Suite Basic or Business license can grab additional information too – Team and manager, Office and desk locations, and whether or not they’ve received an email from a specific contact before, among other things. I actually quite like the Gmail history built into a contact card, and I hope that Google expands on this in the future to make Contacts a better CMS going forward.
End users won’t have to do anything but open Contacts via its icon on the right-hand sidebar as previously discussed. It should already be rolled out to most, but if it’s not there for you yet, then it should appear sometime over the next week for both Rapid Release and Scheduled Release domains. In some instances, it could take a bit longer.
Clicking on the “Open Detailed View” button while hovering over a user’s information card wherever it appears is another quick way to pop open the sidebar. Once you’re viewing a contact there, you can click the button at the top-right to open the full Google Contacts experience in a separate window. Any edits you want to make will force this to happen as well.
Given time, this feature should also roll out to users with standard Google Accounts, but at this time, there’s been no mention of its availability for those not utilizing Workspace. Keep in mind that there’s now a Workspace Individual tier if you’d like to get some of these things earlier than others. Are there any other services you’d like to access from the side panel or have you disabled it entirely?