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Last post Author Topic: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything  (Read 8698 times)

superboyac

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Ever since getting an Android phone, I've become obsessed with properly syncing all my contacts.  All the comapnies are fighting each other for properietary control of your life, so they just aren't playing nice with each other.  I've been trying all sorts of apps, hacks, imports/exports, desktop software, plugins.  I'm like 70% of the way there, but still a long way to go.

The goal:
Have a central place where all your contacts are managed.  This place sends (syncs) the information to wherever...Android phone, google contacts, outlook contacts.  All information...meaning profile photos from facebook, business numbers from linkedin, normal contacts from google, etc.

Here's the issue:
Facebook has the best profile photos.
Linkedin has business info other places don't.
Google contacts needs to get the final version of all the info because that's the most reliable way to get it on your phone.
Outlook is a good place to manage things centrally since it's on the desktop and has a rich featureset.
Problem with Outlook is that the scoial connectors to facebook and linkedin aren't really working.
So maybe you can get a third party tool that works with all of them, set it up, sync it to outlook, and outlook syncs it to google.

There's a good google-to-outlook sync.  So if I can get everything in Outlook, that would be great.  This is where I'm currently stuck.

Another more difficult option is using an app on the phone that will sync things, and then getting that information back on the computer, fixing little details there, and sending it back to the phone.  The problem with this is that the apps that do this, do it in a weird way.  They don't necessarily sync the details...it's more like they allow you to see them on the same screen.  In other words, the google contacts still shows just the google contacts info, but on the phone it looks like you have more info because it's reading things from the facebook app.  It's just a trick.

Anyway, ugh.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2013, 06:00:11 PM »
Er...here's an odd thing or question:

Since I previously had a Windows Phone 8, all my contacts were perfectly synced on it.  If I login to the Windows Live site on my computer, the same perfectly synced contacts show up.  Now, one would expect to be able to link those contacts to my desktop Outlook 2010...but such an option doesn't seem to exist!  What the Fu--!  Microsoft won't even play nice with itself?  Geez.

Stoic Joker

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2013, 06:20:11 PM »
MS hosted Exchange: $4 per user per month - with a 1 user minimum - and it will sync everything with anything (Android/iLife/etc.) on the fly.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2013, 06:23:51 PM »
MS hosted Exchange: $4 per user per month - with a 1 user minimum - and it will sync everything with anything (Android/iLife/etc.) on the fly.
I don't even know what that is.  But it might be worth it!  $48 a year?  I'm in...I've already spent several hours on this.  i think I'm worth a few bucks an hour, no?

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 06:26:33 PM »
MS hosted Exchange: $4 per user per month - with a 1 user minimum - and it will sync everything with anything (Android/iLife/etc.) on the fly.
Where can I find more details on the features?  I'm checking out their website, and the lingo is so stupid and corporate bullshit.  How do the contacts get on the android?  is it integrated, or is it a separate app?  How does it work with desktop outlook 2010?  Photos from facebook?

Stoic Joker

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2013, 06:32:20 PM »
Er...here's an odd thing or question:

Since I previously had a Windows Phone 8, all my contacts were perfectly synced on it.  If I login to the Windows Live site on my computer, the same perfectly synced contacts show up.  Now, one would expect to be able to link those contacts to my desktop Outlook 2010...but such an option doesn't seem to exist!  What the Fu--!  Microsoft won't even play nice with itself?  Geez.

Hehe I was actually glad none of the crap in my MSN/Hotmail/Live account cluttered up my Outlook ... But I know what you mean. Seems like I did find a way to bounce stuff between at one point, but I think it involved the Zune (or whatever it's called) software and individual .vcf contact files.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 06:35:22 PM »
Er...here's an odd thing or question:

Since I previously had a Windows Phone 8, all my contacts were perfectly synced on it.  If I login to the Windows Live site on my computer, the same perfectly synced contacts show up.  Now, one would expect to be able to link those contacts to my desktop Outlook 2010...but such an option doesn't seem to exist!  What the Fu--!  Microsoft won't even play nice with itself?  Geez.

Hehe I was actually glad none of the crap in my MSN/Hotmail/Live account cluttered up my Outlook ... But I know what you mean. Seems like I did find a way to bounce stuff between at one point, but I think it involved the Zune (or whatever it's called) software and individual .vcf contact files.
So how do you keep track of contacts on your phone/computer?  What if you manually add one on the computer?  What if you manually add one on the phone?  Do you keep exporting/importing them with csv files?  What about profile photos?  What about info changing on facebook or linkedin (emails, numbers, etc.)?

Stoic Joker

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2013, 06:37:27 PM »
MS hosted Exchange: $4 per user per month - with a 1 user minimum - and it will sync everything with anything (Android/iLife/etc.) on the fly.
Where can I find more details on the features?  I'm checking out their website, and the lingo is so stupid and corporate bullshit.  How do the contacts get on the android?  is it integrated, or is it a separate app?  How does it work with desktop outlook 2010?  Photos from facebook?

You are seriously being way too kind. It really is total shit. ;)

If you can give me a day or so I can setup a demo acct for you (we're an MS cloud partner) so you can play with a live copy to see if it really does what you want.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2013, 06:41:55 PM »
MS hosted Exchange: $4 per user per month - with a 1 user minimum - and it will sync everything with anything (Android/iLife/etc.) on the fly.
Where can I find more details on the features?  I'm checking out their website, and the lingo is so stupid and corporate bullshit.  How do the contacts get on the android?  is it integrated, or is it a separate app?  How does it work with desktop outlook 2010?  Photos from facebook?

You are seriously being way too kind. It really is total shit. ;)

If you can give me a day or so I can setup a demo acct for you (we're an MS cloud partner) so you can play with a live copy to see if it really does what you want.
THANK YOU!  That would be really awesome of you.
6446800-368480-thank-you-cute-boy-and-gril-cartoon-isolated.jpg

Stoic Joker

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2013, 06:43:31 PM »
Er...here's an odd thing or question:

Since I previously had a Windows Phone 8, all my contacts were perfectly synced on it.  If I login to the Windows Live site on my computer, the same perfectly synced contacts show up.  Now, one would expect to be able to link those contacts to my desktop Outlook 2010...but such an option doesn't seem to exist!  What the Fu--!  Microsoft won't even play nice with itself?  Geez.

Hehe I was actually glad none of the crap in my MSN/Hotmail/Live account cluttered up my Outlook ... But I know what you mean. Seems like I did find a way to bounce stuff between at one point, but I think it involved the Zune (or whatever it's called) software and individual .vcf contact files.
So how do you keep track of contacts on your phone/computer?  What if you manually add one on the computer?  What if you manually add one on the phone?  Do you keep exporting/importing them with csv files?  What about profile photos?  What about info changing on facebook or linkedin (emails, numbers, etc.)?

For our operation (we have Exchange in-house) The Exchange side keeps everything synced between devices, and I just ignore the MSN/Hotmail/Live account that clutters up my phone. I should have tied it to my work live account, but had a stupid moment and plugged in my personal account instead ... And I never got around to flattening the phone (a requirement that truly does suck) to switch accounts.

Shades

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2013, 05:55:04 AM »
Not that long ago, there was a freebie on the BitsDuJour site called: FlowHeater

That software uses the concept of adapters that can make applications "talk" to applications/files that normally are not able to do this. This concept sounds to me like an answer. I downloaded the FlowHeater freebie, as I have played with a trial of Microsoft's BizzTalk (2006) before and liked it. Couldn't afford it though, not for my use case anyway.

The FlowHeater software is also available in a (limited) freeware version, so you could try to see if this concept could work for you or not.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2013, 04:10:16 PM »
Not that long ago, there was a freebie on the BitsDuJour site called: FlowHeater

That software uses the concept of adapters that can make applications "talk" to applications/files that normally are not able to do this. This concept sounds to me like an answer. I downloaded the FlowHeater freebie, as I have played with a trial of Microsoft's BizzTalk (2006) before and liked it. Couldn't afford it though, not for my use case anyway.

The FlowHeater software is also available in a (limited) freeware version, so you could try to see if this concept could work for you or not.
That is actually a really interesting and unique application, I'll try playing around with it.  Thanks.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2013, 04:11:33 PM »
Er...here's an odd thing or question:

Since I previously had a Windows Phone 8, all my contacts were perfectly synced on it.  If I login to the Windows Live site on my computer, the same perfectly synced contacts show up.  Now, one would expect to be able to link those contacts to my desktop Outlook 2010...but such an option doesn't seem to exist!  What the Fu--!  Microsoft won't even play nice with itself?  Geez.

Hehe I was actually glad none of the crap in my MSN/Hotmail/Live account cluttered up my Outlook ... But I know what you mean. Seems like I did find a way to bounce stuff between at one point, but I think it involved the Zune (or whatever it's called) software and individual .vcf contact files.
So how do you keep track of contacts on your phone/computer?  What if you manually add one on the computer?  What if you manually add one on the phone?  Do you keep exporting/importing them with csv files?  What about profile photos?  What about info changing on facebook or linkedin (emails, numbers, etc.)?

For our operation (we have Exchange in-house) The Exchange side keeps everything synced between devices, and I just ignore the MSN/Hotmail/Live account that clutters up my phone. I should have tied it to my work live account, but had a stupid moment and plugged in my personal account instead ... And I never got around to flattening the phone (a requirement that truly does suck) to switch accounts.
Could you describe to me what you mean by flattening the phone?  because my instinct is also to plug in my personal account rather than tying to a work account.  i guess it makes it harder to manage centrally?

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2013, 12:16:08 PM »
OK, so I'm now trying out the MS Hosted Exchange (office365) way of managing my contacts.  It's very nice so far.  Facebook and LinkedIn was linked without a problem.  Now I need to add my manual addressbook, merge everything and start using it.

I have a little confusion regarding Exchange addressbooks.  Is there any advantage for a single user to use the global addressbook?  Or is it best to just stick with the separate "My Contacts" area.  I don't get why they are different.  See here:
Screenshot - 11_20_2013 , 10_11_40 AM.png

Stoic Joker

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2013, 01:20:43 PM »
Your address book is your address book which you can access from anywhere/thing. You can share your address book with other users on the same system, but it is typically restricted to just you.

The global address book is globally available to all users of the system. Distribution lists that are to be accessible by all users in a company will typically be in the global address list. This is designed to be accessed by everyone, and cannot be restricted.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2013, 04:14:08 PM »
Your address book is your address book which you can access from anywhere/thing. You can share your address book with other users on the same system, but it is typically restricted to just you.

The global address book is globally available to all users of the system. Distribution lists that are to be accessible by all users in a company will typically be in the global address list. This is designed to be accessed by everyone, and cannot be restricted.
Thanks.  So far, this is working quite well!  All the contacts are syncing up on my phone.  To test it, I turned off the contacts from other accounts and so I'm only using the office365 addressbook, and everything is fine.  The linkedin profile photos are not showing up on the phone, even though they show up on the desktop internet version.  But that may be because it's witing for a wifi connection to sync the photos.  That will have to wait until tonight.

I like it.  Great suggestion Stoic!

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #16 on: November 21, 2013, 10:52:11 AM »
Actually, upon closer inspection, it doesn't appear to be working as expected.  As you can see from the screenshot above, there are 3 subfolders under "My COntacts".  The only one that gets synced is the subfolder "Contacts".  From Microsoft's FAQ:
Quote
Can I synchronize multiple calendar or contacts folders?
You can only synchronize your default calendar folder, contact folder, and tasks folder.

The problem is that those other folder like facebook and linkedin have additional information that is merged with contacts in the "Contacts" folder.  on the website, everything works beautifully, pictures,merged stuff, etc.  but on the phone, only the info from contacts shows up.  So this is not working any better than any other solution.

Looks like if you want contacts merged properly and synced properly on a phone, the only option is a windows phone.  sad.  because windows phones suck.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #17 on: November 21, 2013, 10:55:18 AM »
I may have to start looking for a contact manager service that i pay for.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #18 on: November 21, 2013, 11:27:57 AM »
CardDav.  This is something I'm looking at...

Stoic Joker

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #19 on: November 21, 2013, 11:34:59 AM »
As you can see from the screenshot above, there are 3 subfolders...

Screenshots?


The only one that gets synced is the subfolder "Contacts".  From Microsoft's FAQ:
Quote
Can I synchronize multiple calendar or contacts folders?
You can only synchronize your default calendar folder, contact folder, and tasks folder.

The problem is that those other folder like facebook and linkedin have additional information that is merged with contacts in the "Contacts" folder.  on the website, everything works beautifully, pictures,merged stuff, etc.  but on the phone, only the info from contacts shows up.  So this is not working any better than any other solution.

You can only sync one folder but there can be multiple items (calendars/contacts/etc.) in that folder ... But I'm not sure what you're looking at. If it worked on the Windows phone, and I know at least calendars work fine in the iStuff, it stands to reason it should work on the android as well. But that may depend on the IMAP client software. I'm assuming that with the Windows phone you were using Outlook ... And there should be an option with the 365 demo to get whatever variant on Outlook they have available for Android to see what if any impact it may have on the behavior.

There is also the option of calling MS for support to see if there is a configuration option to pull those together.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #20 on: November 21, 2013, 11:52:13 AM »
OK, here's more info.

If you access Microsoft's service through a web browser, the contacts are perfect.  This is both with the free Windows Live account and with Office365/exchange.  You can add LinkedIn and Facebook connectors, and those contacts will come in and most will get automatically merged.  The duplicates remaining can be manually merged to get the perfect addressbook.  This is all done online with a full web browser.

Now the trick is getting it on mobile.  I'm talking the final end product of all that merging and photo managing, duplicate cleaning, etc.  This is what seems to be impossible.

I turned automatic syncing back on in the Android.  Now, all the contacts come in from the Office365 exchange link.  The problem: no profile photos (all coming from linkedin and facebook, you don't have the ability to add your own photos), and the merged contacts don't work.  All the contacts you merged appear separately on the Android.  So most contacts have 2-3 entries for me.  Not good. I can get an app to merge it, but I already spent all that effort online...I'm looking for a solution where I only have to do this one time in one central place and it gets deployed to all my devices.

It appears Microsoft has provided a kickass contact management solution for integration with facebook and linkedin, but it only works in the browser or wp8 phones.  It won't work in regular desktop outlook, it won't work with android or ios.  SOME things work, but not entirely.

Can someone write an software for this?  Is there a service I can pay for to handle this?  I'll even go so far as to host my own server if I can make it work.  I've read people doing such things with owncloud and stuff.  I want a central contact manager that can send the info to phones and outlook and whatever.

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #21 on: November 21, 2013, 12:15:10 PM »
Here's a detailed article about these experiences with Plaxo, a popular syncing service.  The guy eventually gives up on syncing.  :(
Quote
Hi @dojohnny,

Thanks for stopping by and reading the article. When it comes to contact sync, I've all but given up on any syncing services. The best and most reliable syncing I've found is the native Google Contacts sync between my Gmail contacts and my phone.

My Android phone does a fair amount of contact syncing from my GMail contacts and my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. There's 3rd party apps you can get that will pull in photos and other detail that you can run on your phone, which will in turn sync to your web-based contacts.

However, from what you're describing seems to be asking an awful lot from a standard contacts manager. Xobni's Smarter Contacts comes to mind as possibly what you're looking for. It's an Android/iOS app and it's an add-on for Gmail as well.

It does a lot of what Xobni for Outlook does, which is ping the web for any pertinent info on your contacts, and pulls them in from various sources.

But, for true relationship management such as you're describing, that's more of like what a CRM (customer relationship management) tool would do. Salesforce.com might have a mobile app, as well as a service called Big Contacts (bigcontacts.com).

Rapportive also does some light CRM, so perhaps you can check that out in the Chrome extension store to see if maybe that might be what you're looking for.

These are but a few to go on, but there are many out there. I can't say that I recommend any one over the other, as I've tried many, and in the end, just went to a stripped down, unsexy Google Contacts that syncs to my Android and vice versa.

Hope this helps in some way. Perhaps someone reading might know of some services that may do the trick as well?

Thanks again for reading!

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #22 on: November 21, 2013, 01:58:10 PM »
So I have to try memotoo now.

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #23 on: November 21, 2013, 03:32:58 PM »
So... you're looking for an ongoing interactive relationship between all of the players that will continuously sync contacts regardless of which system they are created in? Zoiks! ...That will be a bit tricky. I've worked with manually integrating/importing the contacts/calendars/mail from other systems into Exchange so that it will be used exclusively going forward. But the live action stuff I've never tried (or even thought to). I'm generally brought in to collapse discontiguous system into one fully integrated single (Exchange...) package.

It is interesting that OWA 2013 will merge it properly...yet still not convey said compilation to a local copy of Outlook ... Is the local copy 2013 also?

superboyac

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Re: central addressbook software for syncing everything with everything
« Reply #24 on: November 21, 2013, 04:12:57 PM »
So... you're looking for an ongoing interactive relationship between all of the players that will continuously sync contacts regardless of which system they are created in? Zoiks! ...That will be a bit tricky. I've worked with manually integrating/importing the contacts/calendars/mail from other systems into Exchange so that it will be used exclusively going forward. But the live action stuff I've never tried (or even thought to). I'm generally brought in to collapse discontiguous system into one fully integrated single (Exchange...) package.

It is interesting that OWA 2013 will merge it properly...yet still not convey said compilation to a local copy of Outlook ... Is the local copy 2013 also?
I'm pretty sure this is part of the business battles.  A few years ago, the syncs were free and worked much better.  Over the years, it's gotten worse and worse as the ecosystem walls got higher and higher.

Yes, the OWA thing is weird.  I haven't tried it yet on Outlook 2013, but from everything i've read it will be no different.  Apparently, the nice merging and syncing features are ONLY available online.  Microsoft probably made a limited arrangement with facebook and linkedin to accomplish that.  Google Apps for BUSINESS (paid service) also has more sync features, but I haven't tried those yet.

Years ago, I used to do it like you.  I imported everything manually into a standalone addressbook (I probably have several threads about it here) and then would periodically update it and export it to my phones and Outlook.  But now it's too much for me.  And the profile photos are the most pain in the ass.  It's just a superficial thing, but it really helps to have a contact photo when receiving calls on the phone.

But yeah, now I'm on a mission.  I want one centrally managed contact system that I use with Outlook, phones, tablets, laptops, etc.  With pictures and ALL contact info.  I'll get a freaking full on CRM if I have to, but even those I'm not convinced are working.