01/20/2011, 01:09 PM
Not sure how useful this will be to most people, but I figured I'd post here to share my (generally positive) experience syncing contacts between family members and see how others are accomplishing cross-gmail-account contact syncing. Other than our gmail's sync with webOS via Synergy, the specifics below don't really relate to webOS. The problem and solution here could just as well be relevant to ppl on android or those just using Gmail and GContacts...
Before I start -- I have no professional or financial interest in soocial other than it's working great for me and I wanted to give them a shout-out on my favorite webOS forum. It's a nice service on top of webOS's synergy. I certainly realize it's something that only a niche part of the audience here would want / need, but of the other married folks whose spouse is somewhat tech savvy (or we're forcing them to be!!!), it can be really helpful.
The problem I am addressing is:
My wife and I both have WebOS phones and separate gmail (& contacts and calendar) accounts to manage our combined and separate personal contacts... Together we have about 800 contacts, about 150 of them shared so that we'd both want access to those 150. However, until last summer, we'd constantly be out of sync when either of us would update contact details on our own phone that was also shared by the other (specifically our families or common friends) -- as a result, about a half dozen of our 2009 holiday cards went out to wrong addresses because I was using my (out of date) contacts instead of hers for example...
During the 1st half of 2010, I tried a few things....
- I used GContactSync for a while and synced both Google contact accounts with Outlook on a home computer. I really liked GContactSync but this required me to keep Outlook up and running on the home computer (also up and running) or perform manual syncs.
- I also tried just setting up all of our combined contacts in just one of our GMail (Google contact) accounts and set up the other phone with two Google accounts (but deleting the associated email and calendar accounts). This worked fine to have common Google contact accounts on our phones, but then my wife didn't have access to her google contacts via Google's web interface. Also, she didn't like having all of my "Other" contacts on her phone (work, old non-common college friends, businesses I would need but of no interest to her). Personally, having her personal contacts on mine didn't bother me, but I wanted to keep her happy so I looked into alternate solutions...
So, last August, after some searching, I found Soocial.com which promises to sync contact details OTA and in the background across multiple services and devices.... I can only speak for the syncing between Google accounts and it has worked great. I works like this (just like you would suspect I suppose):
- Basically, either my wife or I can make changes to contacts on Pre#1 (then updated via synergy to the respective google account). Obviously, the changes can also just be made in the google web interface....
- Then every 4 or 6 hours (I forget), Soocial,com looks at both accounts and compares them to the version they are storing in their servers -- if either changes, the changed records are then pushed out to the other's google account.
- (In my case, only certain "Categories" of contacts go to my wife's google account so if I change up my college roommate, it doesn't go to her phone. -- but using Category filtering this way is not a requirement)
- Finally Synergy does the rest to get the changes to the 2nd Pre device.
I have only experienced a few issues:
- On two occasions, a whole bunch of records (about 75 or so in certain categories) lost their Category information (including MyContact designation) so they no longer synced via synergy to our Pres. When I noticed this, it was easy enough to find these records in Google's "Other Contacts" areas and reassign them to the appropriate categories. I don't know why this happened, but it wasn't too impactful.
- The other issue occurs because the Pre does not allow for assigning New Entries to a category. Because of this, and because only certain contact categories are synced to my wife's phone... when she enters a new contact - very infrequently -- it gets synced appropriately to my google account in the "Other contacts" area and then at Soocial's next sync, it is removed from her phone (because it does not meet the category requirements). Soocial could avoid this by allowing me to designate that contacts without a category should be synced to her phone. Not a big deal though.
Finally, Soocial offers a few other services that I haven't used but are nice to have, you can export your merged contact list for import into Outlook or just for posterity (something I can also do with Google). The other feature seems more useful, you can restore your contacts to a particular date and time in the past. -- certainly a nice feature if I were to ever accidentally click the delete all contacts option in Google!!
There is a free service -- limited to 250 contacts and does not support multiple gmail accounts and few of the other premium services I listed above (but it would work if contacts<250 person #1 was on Gmail and the other was on yahoo). Because i had 800+ contacts and wanted Gmail1<->Gmail2 syncing, I was on the premium monthly account at ~$4/mo, but after 4 months, I prepaid for 12 months @ $40/year. It's definitely worth it (for me) to keep our contacts in sync. Personally, I wish this was something google offered, but until then I'll pay for it.
Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I figured I can't be the only person who was interested in something like this.... I'm happy to answer questions from anyone else who might want to try it.
I also wanted to know if anyone else is using Soocial and how its working for you.
Finally, any other ways to do this that I've missed?
Soocial • Easy & Complete Contacts Sync