Most computer users that I know have several email accounts hosted by different email providers. I'm using about ten email accounts actively in Thunderbird and web interfaces, and always thought that there must be a way to sync the contact information so that I can work with a single set of contacts in all programs, or at least when I'm using my desktop email client.
Late last night I discovered the Zindus Thunderbird extension which syncs Gmail (and Google Reader, Google Calendar) contacts with the Thunderbird address book.
Update: Zindus is not compatible with Thunderbird 24.x or newer. You can use an alternative such as gContactSync instead.
The Thunderbird add-on can be installed as usual by downloading the file to the computer and installing it from the Tools > Add-ons menu in Thunderbird. Before it can be used it has to be configured. It actually provides two different options to sync the contacts.
Both, Google and Zimbra, require a server address, username and password to function properly. I cannot really say much about Zimbra because I've never heard about it before. It seems to be a service that gives access to several mail accounts in one interface.
After adding the required information a test connection can be used to see if the connection to the server is successful. By default auto sync is enabled which means that the contacts will automatically be synced.
Please note that syncing means that both the Gmail account as well as the Thunderbird address book will contain the same contacts in the end. Auto Sync is trigged by two parameters that can be configured in the Thunderbird config (Tools > Options > Advanced > Config Editor), they are:
- extensions.zindus.system.as_timer_delay_on_start - the number of seconds after startup
- extensions.zindus.system.as_timer_delay_on_repeat - the number of seconds after the first auto-sync
The following information are synced between Gmail and Thunderbird:
- Full Name
- Primary Email address and Second Email address
- Phone Numbers: Home, Work, Work Fax, Pager, Mobile
- Instant Messaging (AIM)
- Company and Title
Zindus is compatible with all versions of Thunderbird up to but not including Thunderbird 24.
If you install gContactSync you get similar functionality. It supports the synchronization of one or multiple Google Mail accounts with one or multiple address books in the email client. If you are using two-factor authentication, you need to create an application password to get it to work though, but that is the only restriction.