Sync with Google Contacts in 10.5.3 - Not

I was scanning through the news feeds yesterday and came across an official Google Mac Blog post that says I can now synchronize my Google contact list with my local address book. There's even a nice little picture of it:

So after updating to 10.5.3 I fired up Address Book and looked at the preferences but the Google Sync option at the bottom was missing. I did a little research and apparently this is only an option if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch that's been hooked to your Mac. I'd love an iPhone but I don't have one so apparently the option is not available to me. I don't really understand the logic behind that one.

A note to the Google folks that run that blog: perhaps you should update your article to reflect that this only works if you have an iPhone or iPod Touch?

Lifehacker (an outstanding site) has a hack that is supposed to get it working on Macs that are not tethered to an iPhone or Touch.  Turns out there are some problems with using that method based on the comments under the article though so I held off on trying it myself.

Do I really want to sync with Google Contacts anyway?
While going through and trying to figure out if I wanted to make this work I started thinking through how my Google Contact list is used compared to my address book. Gmail automatically adds every person you send an e-mail to into your Contacts list - there is no option to turn that off.  I was once asked to send an e-mail out to the parents of my son's football team - a list that had over 90 people on it I don't communicate with often at all - yet all of them are now parked in my Contact list.

Until Google gives me the option in Gmail to not auto-add every single person into my address book I don't see the value in it. My address book will be populated with hundreds of people that I don't even have a name or phone number for, just a cryptic e-mail address.

For once I'm really glad I found a feature that didn't work.


Paul said...

Unfortunately I have an iPod Touch, and enabled this when I saw it this morning. Bad news.

I now have a ridiculously big Address book. Furthermore, because my mobile phone syncs with my laptop, I now have hundreds of pointless contacts on my mobile.

This will take a lot of sorting out.

David Alison said...

@Paul: Sorry to hear that man. I would have done the same thing had the option been enabled for me.

sd said...

thank you for the warning!
I was just about to run the hack to force enable the sync. Glad I read your post, I will not force-feed my Adress Book...

johnny said...

david is correct - i would rather it not ever work. google needs to add a way to shut that blasted auto add off.

as roundabout as it is, using outlook from a work machine to sync contacts is the only way i roll...

so much for the 21st century...

LaSombra said...

Hey David and guys, you can try this.
Worked for me

David Alison said...

@Lasombra: That's the Lifehacker article I mentioned ;-)

mr.bitch said...

Or, as an alternative, you can just install GCALDaemon :

Features :
( check out that last feature )
- Open source and completely free
- Bidirectional sync between iCalendar and Google Calendar
- View and edit your Google Calendar offline
- Supports 'Google Apps for Your Domain'
- Supports multiple file listeners with multiple Google Accounts
- Makes Gmail contacts accessible via LDAP
- Customizable Gmail notification
- Converts RSS/ATOM feed to iCalendar format
- Reusable mail transfer agent
- Remote control your computer via Gmail

Anonymous said...

Also, when you sync OS X 10.5's Address Book with Google on your iphone/ipod touch, it seems to be one way. Pushing info from Google to your Mac's Address book.

If you make a change to say the notes for a contact on your Address Book for OS X, and sync with iTunes, the Google contact notes for the person don't change.

Anonymous said...

If you read point eight on this, surely it shouldn't put everything from your gmail contact list.

Maen said...

If you just want to have a look at the photos you might wana click somewhere in the finder (typically the first pic you wan't to view) and hit the space bar. No program opened, really fast (for most file formats) way to view stuff and full navigation available.