Google Workspace contacts explained

An overview of Google contacts and the global contacts directory

Actually, what is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace started off as Google Apps for your Domain way back in 2006, changed its name to Google Apps for Business before becoming G Suite in late 2016, and finally Google Workspace in late 2020 Google Workspace includes Google's productivity applications such as Gmail, Google Sheets, Docs, Slides, Forms and Sites, Google Drive and others. Google Workspace allows domain administrators to manage users and their access to these applications. Google Workspace is a competitor to Microsoft 365. For more information see the Google Workspace website

How does Gmail work in Google Workspace?

Google Workspaceallows a company or organization to set users up with a company email address (; one user can also have multiple email addresses (known as aliases) for example, and so on. From an individual users point of view there is no real difference between Google Workspace Gmail and the regular Gmail free email service - the screen used to read and send emails is exactly the same.

How do contacts work in Google Workspace?

As with Gmail, Google Workspace Contacts work in the same way as regular Google Contacts, individual users can manage their own contacts - these contacts can only be accessed by the user themselves, they are not shared with other users in the organization. Contacts are accessed in the standard way, via Google's universal navigation.

or by navigating directly to Contacts are a handy google feature - the contact's email address will appear as auto-complete entries when you send a new email, and you can also sync contacts to your mobile device (using the Google Contacts app).

Voyzu Shared Contacts Manager brings in the ability to share regular Google contacts by creating a special folder that is shared across particpating domain users.

The Google Workspace Contacts Directory

The Google Workspace Contacts Directory, sometimes also known as 'external contacts' or the Global Address List (GAL) is available to all users in a Google Workspace organization (unless disabled by a domain administrator). This directory appears as a folder in your contacts.

The screenshot above shows how the global directory will appear to a domain user. Contacts in the Directory are read only for all users, including administrators.

As the above screenshot shows, contacts in the Contacts Directory can only be read, not added, edited, imported, exported or printed.

Adding external contacts to the Google Workspace global contacts directory

Because the Google Workspace global directory can be accessed by all users in an organization it is a useful place to store contacts external to the company that you do not want your users to be able to edit. The "catch" with this is that there is no way to add external contacts to the global directory other than by using a programming language to interact with the Google Workspace API.

For information on Voyzu Contacts Directory, our software service that enables management of the contact Directory see the Voyz Contacts Directory product website