Google Adds Enterprise Contact Features to Apps [UPDATE]

Last Updated Jul 1, 2009 6:29 PM EDT

In a telephone conversation today discussing Google's strategy for Google Apps, director of products Matt Glotzbach mentioned a new set of enterprise specific enhancements for contact management in Google Apps. This is significant because contact management, at least according to the users I've spoken with, has been considered a big weakness of the product line.

One addition is full field support for data fields you might find in Microsoft Exchange or IBM's Lotus Notes. That should help reduce a big hurdle enterprises might see in adopting a full Google App suite, because contact management would become useless if they couldn't keep all their data. Another added feature will be support for a full company directory. According to Glotzbach, Google has been working on this for a few months in response to corporate customer feedback.

I'm still waiting on additional information from Google. An official announcement is supposed to take place later today.

[UPDATE - The announcements have been made and details are available:
  • "a new API ... when combined with the existing shared contacts API, gives administrators the ability to maintain an updated and detailed global address list in Google Apps"
  • an updated Contacts interface is supposed to make it "easier for employees to find and start collaborating with all other users on their company domain"
  • when users search for a contact name, they see results from their company's global address list, and not just people they added explicitly or implicitly in Gmail
In addition, there are template galleries for Google Apps domains.]
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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.

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