Today, we're happy to announce updates to contacts in Google Apps: new features that many of our enterprise customers have been asking for.

For starters, we've launched a new API that, when combined with the existing shared contacts API, gives administrators the ability to maintain an updated and detailed global address list in Google Apps.

We've also updated the Contacts interface throughout the Google Apps suite – particularly in Gmail – making it easier for employees to find and start collaborating with all other users on their company domain.

Global address list management
These GData APIs let administrators maintain and manage their company's global address list in Google Apps.

Administrators can retrieve and update profile information for all users on a company domain, giving companies the option to provide rich user information to make it easier for employees to find and contact each other.

Shared contacts API
This API (launched in December of 2008) lets administrators perform all of the above, but for users who do not have accounts provisioned in Google Apps, ensuring that all users (not just those with a Google Apps account) are accounted for in the company's global address list.

These APIs are available exclusively to Google Apps Premier Edition customers.

Enhancements to Contacts
Until today, the only entries that would appear in Contacts in Gmail were those that the user had either explicitly added or had previously emailed. Starting today, when you search for a name, you'll see relevant results from your company's entire global address list, not just people you've emailed with in the past.

We've also made some improvements to the Contacts interface. When administrators add user details (job title, office location, department, cost center, etc.) through the APIs above to the company's global address list, the additional information provided will also display, making it easier for users to get in touch with each other. This also ensures that you get the most updated contact for everyone in your company.

Posted by Florian Niemann, Engineer, Google Apps team

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UPDATE: Please note that these changes are enabled for users of Google Apps Premier Edition and for users of Google Apps Education Edition. We apologize for the omission of educational users in our original post.