Managing the directory

A Google Apps administrator can manage the Google Apps Directory using developer tools or 3rd party applications. Changes made to a user’s basic information, like user name or email alias, are also reflected in the Directory.

By default, the Google Apps Directory is enabled for your domain. This allows your users to find people listed in the Directory through Contacts search, Contacts details view, and the Google Apps autocomplete function. As administrator, you can change the contact settings to exclude certain types of email addresses, like aliases, or hide specific users from the Google Apps Directory.

Changes to your domain or personal contacts can take up to 24 hours to appear.

Managing Google Apps Directory and Google Contacts

Domain administrators can use APIs that integrate with Google Apps to manage Google Contacts.

As an alternative to using the APIs, explore the Google Apps Marketplace for products that can help you manage Contacts through a user-friendly interface, but be aware that Google does not provide support for 3rd party software.

Before working with APIs, an administrator must first enable APIs access and be familiar with the protocol basics. Administrators comfortable with APIs can use the code libraries for reference.

As an administrator, you can use these 5 tools to help manage information in Google Contacts:

  • User Profiles API

    Modify existing domain user contact information with the User Profiles API. To create or delete a user profile, use the User Provisioning API (below).

  • Domain Shared Contacts API

    The Domain Shared Contacts API can add, edit, and delete shared external contacts. External contacts do not have user accounts in your domain, but you would like to have them appear in your Google Apps Directory. Examples include consultants and support technicians. Note that you must enable contact sharing before external contacts appear in your Directory.

  • User Provisioning API

    Sets of APIs that control data about any user data in your domain. Use these APIs to add, modify, and delete users and groups and to manage aliases. Visit the Google Apps Provisioning API table of contents to see the full list of functions.

  • Google Contacts Data API

    The Google Contacts Data API allows client applications to view and update a user's personal contacts list. This tool allows your client application to create, edit, or delete a user’s personal contacts. It also allows you to query for contacts that match particular criteria. This API can be used by either an administrator or a user.

  • Google Apps Directory Sync (GADS)

    The Google Apps Directory Sync updates a Google Apps account to match the information in an LDAP server, such as Microsoft Active Directory or Lotus Notes. Domain users, groups, and users outside of your domain (non-employee contact information in your LDAP server) are all updated. GADS is a one-way syncing tool; an LDAP server cannot be aligned with a Google Apps account. Note that GADS is not an API, but does assume a level of comfort with technical tools.

User account changes that affect the Google Apps Directory

Many changes made to a user account are reflected in the Google Apps Directory. Only a Google Apps account administrator can make these changes using the control panel or a developer’s API:

Managing Contacts best practices

Follow these tips for the best performance of Contacts and the Google Apps Directory:

  • Restrict the number of external contacts to avoid reaching domain limits

    Each external contact counts against your domain’s 50k contact limit. Only create an external contact (also called a domain shared contact) for information essential to most domain users.

    If only a small number of users need a particular external contact, ask those specific users to create a record in their personal contacts. Alternatively, you can create a Google Group or a Google Group for Business that includes only the set of domain users and the external contact(s) that need to be in touch.

  • Use Google Groups (or Google Groups for Business)

    Using Groups in conjunction with Contacts allows greater flexibility in how your users can communicate and collaborate with each other and with people outside of your domain. Group addresses are accessible through the Google Apps Directory (depending on the customizable sharing settings).

    Groups allows a set of people, both domain users and non-domain contacts, to be in touch with each other through a single group email address. Messages sent to the group address can be archived, and accessed by all group members. Groups can share or restrict both posting and viewing rights.