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Google Workspace Directory Contacts vs Shared Contacts vs Google Contacts

By Patronum

April 04, 2022

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We often get asked what is the best way of sharing contacts within Google Workspace. In order to correctly answer that question, we need to explain the difference between the different types of contacts within Google Workspace. Those are Google Workspace Directory contacts also known as Domain Profiles, External Contacts also known as Domain Shared Contacts and Google Contacts also known as My Contacts.

Within Patronum we also have CONTACT SHARING, where we allow administrators to share users’ Google Contacts as well as push Google Workspace Directory contacts to users’ Google Contacts in order to distribute contacts to mobile devices etc. 🤯 That’s a lot of different types of contacts, so let’s get right into it.

Google Workspace Directory contacts (Domain Profiles)

Google Workspace Directory contacts are, as the name suggests, contacts that reside within the Google Workspace Directory. The Google Workspace Directory is a read-only list of contacts that brings together your Google Workspace domain users and any external contacts (SHARED CONTACTS) that you have added via 3rd party tools (such as Patronum) or the Google API. Users within Google Workspace can see other users’ contact details within the Google Workspace Directory by selecting the Directory option within Google Contacts.

External Contacts (SHARED CONTACTS)

As mentioned above, the Google Workspace Directory contains two types of contacts, those from your Google Workspace accounts, and those of external contacts or SHARED CONTACTS as we call them in Patronum. Shared Contacts are created by the Google Shared Contacts API and are visible to all users of a Google Workspace domain and all Google services have access to the contact list.

You can manage and add new Shared Contacts via Patronum within the SHARED CONTACTS section of Contacts.

By default Google Contacts will only list contacts from valid Google Workspace accounts (domain profiles), it will not list external contacts. To list both Google Workspace accounts and external contacts/Shared Contacts you must enable this via the Google Admin Console.

Using the Shared Contacts option is a great way of hosting a central list of company contacts, such as suppliers, clients etc.

Google Contact (My Contacts)

Google Contacts, accessible via is a contact management service for Google Workspace. Each user has their own personal contacts that they can create and organise with labels etc. Google Workspace users can quickly and simply create their own mailing lists within Google Contacts without relying on their Google Workspace administrator. These contacts are controlled and managed by the end-users within Google Workspace. Google does not provide any centralised management of these contacts. In order to manage Google Contacts, you will need a tool like Patronum.

Patronum can help you with the following:-

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