I read a few questions here about bugs related to importing contacts from Google, e.g. this one. But a lot of those threads are fairly old, and my issue isn’t with a specific bug, but rather, I’m looking for a reliable pipeline for getting my contacts out of Google and into the Nextcloud app.
I’ve tried several approaches, as I explain below, but all of them have silently errored in ways that make it hard for me to trust them. If the import process fails on a few contacts and requires me to manually make corrections, that’s fine, but I would like to be alerted about which data failed to parse, rather than discover 6 months from now that I don’t have someone’s address where I thought I did.
Note that Google contacts provides 3 export formats:
- Google CSV
- Outlook CSV
- vCard (aka iCal, .vcf)
I exported vCard from Google, then imported this file using the Nextcloud Contacts web interface.
Result: Many silent errors. I had
n contacts in Google, but Nextcloud showed only
0.9n contacts after import. While importing, Contacts said there were “13 import errors,” but did not name which contacts errored, and the true number of lost contacts was much greater than 13. Later on, I was able to identify a few of the missing contacts by spot checking, but this is a bit of a hassle, and even for the contacts that did import there were still some missing fields.
I exported Google CSV from Google, then imported this file into the Thunderbird desktop app on Linux. Thunderbird syncs to my Nextcloud with TBSync, but I imported them into a scratch address book to clean them up before uploading.
Result: Abject failure. Thunderbird basically fails to parse the CSV from Google. There is a screen where you can manually map the CSV columns to Thunderbird’s information fields, but the individual cells of the CSV themselves contain junk text. For example, one cell, parsed as a contact’s
Birthday, read something like
Address 1: 1234 - Address 2: 5678 - . Basically, the CSV from Google itself is too much of a mess to salvage.
I exported vCard from Google and imported this into Thunderbird.
Result: Many silent errors. All
n contacts are imported, but lots of fields are dropped. In particular, Google lets you have an arbitrary number of addresses, whereas Thunderbird only accepts a Private and Work address. In practice, though, Thunderbird didn’t read in any work addresses at all and just plopped the first address listed in Google into the Private address field, sometimes with missing fields.
I’m OK with doing a little bit of wrangling for a couple of contacts that have truly strange names/addresses, but after the 3 failed attempts above, I wanted to ask if anyone on this forum has successfully imported a large contact database from Google and what data pipeline gave the fewest, and noisiest, errors.
- Thunderbird v91.11.0
- TBSync v3.0.2
- Nextcloud v24.0.3
- Nextcloud Contacts v4.2.0