Google’s contact manager has always been intentionally rudimentary. Being able to plug in new relationships and their basic information is really all it was ever meant to do. Yes, you can apply labels to categorize them, insert (very) basic notes about them, and identify the person’s relation to you, but that’s about it. I’ve always yearned for more and have sought out other Contact management solutions (CRMs) in place of Google’s own, but have always come back to the simplicity it was founded on.
Despite this, I still can’t get over the fact that I want more out of it. Luckily, a new update that’s rolling out now beefs the service up a bit and integrates it more with Gmail, Drive, and Calendar! Over the next week or week and a half, Workspace users will begin seeing a contact’s local time and timezone, their working hours, any shared files between you and them, and their business relationship to you all directly on their contact card.
Local time: The the local time for a user’s time zone will be displayed
Working hours: You’ll see a crescent moon indicator and purple banner if it’s outside the working hours a user has set in Google Calendar
Non-manager relationships: You can view relationships such as an administrative business partner or a dotted line manager
Shared files: You’ll see a list of any Drive files a user has shared with you Custom attributes: any custom attributes your organization has added, such as Team, Skills, or other information specific to your organizationSummary of updates
This update will no doubt go a long way toward making Contacts more useful for organizations, small businesses, and larger companies alike. Much of this has been directly spawned out of the new usefulness of Google Calendar, Drive, Meet, and other Google services that have been bolstered to keep up with need and demand during the global pandemic.
I’ve always dreamed that Contacts would be the fulcrum for all of the company’s other services, making each of them relationship-centered instead of task-centered, and this gives me renewed hope that this may be the future. Even if it’s not, being able to make more accurate and useful determinations about your professional interactions will be indispensable.
Google says that each card – custom fields, shared files, non-manager relationships, and local time – will be rolled out separately, so you may see one or several before others. Don’t worry, its staged rollout is commonplace with the way the tech giant does things, and everyone with a Google Workspace, G Suite Basic, or G Suite for Business account will have them all before long!
Going forward, I would like to see custom fields be more interactive or integrated. Instead of having these entry points for data simply be extra spots for notes that can’t be tied into other services or linked, it would mean a lot to boost Contacts as a CRM with more functionality here. Let me know in the comments if you just and only use the service for basic interaction management, or if you also feel it could and should be more.