Two-way syncronization of Google contacts not working properly

asked 2014-06-11 13:00:16 +0300

moosiqpipl gravatar image

updated 2015-05-07 22:32:04 +0300

heubergen gravatar image

It seems to me that the new two-way sync for Google contacts is not working properly.

First, in order to make contact details editable, it was necessary to delete all existing Google contacts, re-setup the Google account and sync the contacts to the address book. After that procedure the contact details lost that world icon and can finally be edited.

Second, I encountered changes applied to Google contact details not being synced back to Google. However, changes applied on the Google side seem to sync to the phone correctly.

Edit 14.07.2014: [] It is still not possible to add/create Google contacts.

Edit 16.07.2014: [] I was halfway wrong claiming the two-way Google sync not working when creating contacts on the phone. In fact contacts created on the phone are being synced to your Google account - however, if you happen to have more than one Google account, the contact might be synced to the wrong Google account as there is no possibility to choose which account is to be affected on contact creation.

Edit 13.08.2014: [] Meanwhile I had to factory reset the phone. After updating to the last version [] again and then setting up the Google accounts, only the first contacts sync from Google worked as expected. After that, no more changes have been synced either from the server or the phone. And even contact pictures will not be synced from the server to the phone. The sync function really seems to be messed up in this version :-(

Edit 02.01.2015: [] Unfortunately, no change in sync behaviour in this OS version either :-( Only the first sync works after a fresh account setup. Additions and changes to contacts are not being synced - neither to nor from Google.

Edit 04.03.2015: [] And again, the situation has not changed with the current version . No further syncing after the initial account setup. Totally frustrating, this :-(

Edit 06.05.2015: [] After one day with I am still unable to experience a reliable sync behavior. As with the prior versions the first sync after initial account setup transferred my contacts from Google to the phone. However, some avatars are missing (others are not, interestingly) and changes applied to contacts have as well as have not been synced either to or from Google (e.g. added avatars or address changes). So, no significant improvement with this version either, I'm afraid :-(

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In my case the situation is that the contact pictures still do not sync from google to device completely. Some pics do but most of them not. I have tried to re-setup the google account several times now. No success. This is starting to get really annoying. Should be supported, but it's not. Any hints to solve this?

shertell ( 2014-06-11 13:40:56 +0300 )edit

Yes, I had that also during one of my attempts. Syncing the contact pics took some time, but at least they showed at some point.

moosiqpipl ( 2014-06-11 14:25:16 +0300 )edit

@shertell: Google limits the number of requests we can do per hour. To avoid hitting those limits, we only download a relatively small number (about a hundred) of avatars in each sync cycle. As such, it may take several sync cycles for all of the avatars to be synced to the phone. To speed the process up, you can trigger the sync manually via the pulley menu option for that account several times during the day, or alternatively you can wait for the (once-per-day) scheduled syncs to slowly pull in all of the avatars.

chris.adams ( 2014-06-13 03:43:19 +0300 )edit

Yes, there are definitely some issues with synchronisation. This is what I have discovered so far:

  • Phone number categories like Mobile, Fixed line, etc. are not synchronised properly, neither from Google account to Jolla, nor from Jolla to Google account. These are somehow messed up.
  • If you change these categories in your Google account, it seems to update correctly.
  • If you instead change the categories on your Jolla, the changes are not synchronised back to Google account properly.
  • And even worse: if you add a phone number on Jolla to a contact that already has some other phone numbers, the new number seems to be synchronised properly to Google account, but: the new phone number keeps the phone symbol, and if you delete that phone number later, one of the other phone numbers is deleted on Google side.

So currently I would not recommend to update your contacts on your Jolla, but only use editing in your Google account until these issues are fixed.

peter.woelflingseder ( 2014-06-14 17:42:24 +0300 )edit

These synchronisation issues affect also connection bluetooth connections with PBAP profile, see my other post: after update: carkit (bluetooth) not working

peter.woelflingseder ( 2014-06-14 18:08:17 +0300 )edit

@chris.adams, back to your comment here - does that mean if we eat hourly limit of requests, next hour nothing will be synced? If so, perhaps that could explain unstable sync behaviour i had...

SergeiStPete ( 2014-06-15 13:15:28 +0300 )edit

@SergeiStPete yes that's correct, if you hit the API request limit within a given period, subsequent syncs can fail due to server-side throttling. In general, you're unlikely to hit those limits, though, as we are quite sparing in the way we perform sync with respect to the number of API requests we perform for a given account.

chris.adams ( 2014-06-20 04:45:33 +0300 )edit

@peter.woelflingseder Synchronisation of phone subtypes to and from Google cannot be round-trip stable in all cases, simply because Google Contacts doesn't support the full range of subtype/context permutations which are supported on the Jolla device. The upsync process does "best effort" to ensure that the server-representation matches the local-device representation as closely as possible, but in some cases it's not possible.

The final problem which you mention is actually a real bug. The new phone number SHOULD keep the phone symbol (after all, it's locally-entered data which belongs to the local device), but it should be synced up to the Google servers also. If you delete that phone number on the device, however, it should only delete THAT number from the Google servers; if it is deleting a different number, that is definitely a bug. I'll try to reproduce this bug with one of our test devices, thanks for the report.

chris.adams ( 2014-06-20 04:49:00 +0300 )edit

Scenarios. 1) New contact added in google. Sync to phone is ok. 2) New contact added in phone. Sync to google is ok. 3) Contact edited in google. Sync to phone is ok. 4) Contact edited in phone. Never synced to google. Not ok.

jliebe ( 2014-07-16 10:58:25 +0300 )edit

It looks like for me Google sync doesn't work at all. Account is created/recreated fine, email works - but there's no Gtalk in events presence, and also no Google contacts in People.

haliava ( 2014-08-14 18:34:35 +0300 )edit

I don't understand the Jolla/Google sync policy at all. I have created a list of my contacts in Google Contacts: names, emails, and phone numbers. I have prepared my Jolla, purged of all previous contacts. I set up a google account on my Jolla. I chose the two-way sync method. Now, two things bother me:

1) When I open a synced contact in Jolla, its phone number (with a little globe) isn't editable! Does this mean that the phone numbers created in Google Contacts are "hard-coded", so there is no chance to edit them from Jolla? What exactly does that "two-sync" mean? Should I delete all the phone numbers in Google Contacts and create them once again in my Jolla so they will be editable? I would rather not...

2) Some contacts from Google Contacts got imported to my Jolla in a correct fashion; for example, one particular contact in my Google Contacts list being linked via his address to his original Google(+) account, so I can see his email, call him, send him Gtalk message, etc. But, another contacts got imported in a wrong way: being Google-linked in the same way as the one that got imported correctly (his contact card in my Contacts list linked to his own Google account via his I finally got two separate contacts in my Jolla! I had to manually linked them, where some messing up occured (name from the second account being the nickname for the first one, random selection of the name from both accounts). I am really disappointed.

Pavol Bucek ( 2014-09-18 23:58:29 +0300 )edit

I have also experienced the problem where the sync has stopped to work. I deleted my contact database and recreated it. The contacts downloaded fine from Google, but when I added a new contact to Google it didn't sync to my Jolla. When I had a Hangout session with the contact the person's Google profile (Gtalk and Google+ page) was synced, but not his email or phone details.


JuhaL ( 2014-10-22 09:01:27 +0300 )edit

I really wonder if the sync issues will be fixed with the upcoming release or if we are expected to wait for another iteration which [assuming the actual update speed] would render the device almost useless as a smartphone for another 3-4 months?

moosiqpipl ( 2014-10-22 10:24:18 +0300 )edit

I'm wondering is there a connection with this bug and a bug fixed in Uitukka. The release notes state that they have fixed an issue with contacts with only company name, no first/last/nick. In my Google contacts I have several company only contacts.

JuhaL ( 2014-10-23 07:57:48 +0300 )edit

@JuhaL Unfortunately, that's a differnet issue and not connected to the syncing problem.

moosiqpipl ( 2014-10-23 12:43:42 +0300 )edit

I edited two, already existing, contacts couple of weeks ago. One of them I edited on, and the otherone on Jolla. Until today, neither of the edits have synced to the other end. Based on this, I would say the sync doesn't work at all.

AnaT ( 2014-11-13 20:41:57 +0300 )edit

@AnaT, sync works, but partly. "Not at all" sounds quite uncompromisable. Anyway, based on my experience sync with Google contacts works not like expected, that's right. Here is long discussion about that, not necessary to repeat. Sometimes syncs stops, only recreation of the account makes it alive. Anyway, I'd rather say sync with Google contact is not reliable, you may use it only on your own risk.

SergeiStPete ( 2014-11-13 20:50:43 +0300 )edit

I had to take my phone to repair, and during it all the contacts were wiped. I added Google and Facebook accounts, and the contacts got synced once, when I noticed that I was missing A LOT of contacts, probably all the contacts I had added on the phone between January and June. Now it seems this is happening again. Since the first sync, any of the edits haven't got synced. All in all, I wouldn't call this functionality as sync, it's able to once copy all the contacts, and after that, any edits are not synced anymore.

What worries me most here, is that I haven't found an thread showing any reaction from Jolla. Do they even know about this issue?

AnaT ( 2014-11-13 21:06:59 +0300 )edit

i hope they know, it was discussed in several threads here, just search google contacts tag. From practical point of view i keep nothing on the phone, all changes are in google contacts plus one way (to the phone) sync option. Somehow it saves you from loosing of the information. Don't add to the phone, add to the cloud (Google, Facebook, whatever). Two way sync is not reliable and i believe Jolla teams knows and fix one day.

SergeiStPete ( 2014-11-13 21:20:50 +0300 )edit

Yepp...I really hope the Jolla techs have the Google sync issues on their roadmap for the upcoming release :-/

moosiqpipl ( 2014-11-13 22:12:13 +0300 )edit

This is just so disappointing that the Google/Jolla Contacts/People sync is practically in the same non-functional and unreliable state that it has been since the launch of the device more than a year ago. Why don't we get any info from Jolla about this? An ETA for a fix and roadmap tag would be highly appteciated.

foss4ever ( 2015-01-04 00:38:23 +0300 )edit

@jjaone, fully support, may only add for me that's most disappointing issue for now. On the other hand, that's only 37 votes here, perhaps that's one of the reasons why this problem is on low priority...

SergeiStPete ( 2015-01-04 13:00:52 +0300 )edit

That's incredibile, one of the most important issue receives only 37 votes, without a full functional syncing we are nor able to use jolla as daily driver

Bullitt ( 2015-01-04 13:06:38 +0300 )edit

I found this issue also annoying – added my vote. -Juha

JuhaL ( 2015-01-04 13:42:11 +0300 )edit

@jjaone@SergeiStPete feel free to spread the word for upvoting this issue ;-)

To be serious, I see a serious design flaw in at least the contacts app of sailfish OS regarding syncing with Google [or even other services]: The case of handling multiple Google accounts seems not been followed and thought of as there is no option to select which account added or changed contacts should be synced to! (Other than with the calendar app that differentiates between multiple accounts) It makes me believe the syncing concept for contacts is - if anything - at most halfway sophisticated.

Maybe Jolla does not like us to make use of Google's contact service - which would be ok if other sync implementations (e.g. ActiveSync, OwnCloud, etc.) offer complete working alternatives. However, not everyone has the opportunity to run an appropriate service at home and instead would have to rely on Google's service. I assume a lot of Jolla users coming from android and therefore using their services. So, the transition period should be as convenient as possible. Contact sync is one of the core functions of a smrtphone.! Jolla has achieved a lot by now. There is still room for improvement and I'm sure they can do a lot better ;-)

moosiqpipl ( 2015-01-04 13:42:32 +0300 )edit

I agree. I think this a very important feature if they want Jolla to be mainstream. In 2015 calendar and contacts sync is a mandatory feature. We need ONE provider where 2-way sync work reliable. Until that is not given, Jolla is not ready for prime time.

MichaelSD ( 2015-01-05 22:15:20 +0300 )edit

This synchronization problem is the reason why I will return the 2 Jolla phones I ordered and received 2 days ago, I really liked the idea behind Jolla, the interface and wanted to support an European alternative but if basic things like 2-way-contact sync and (shared) calenders don't work after more than one year on the market (I tried it with my owncloud installation, fruux and finally google which i wanted to get rid off) I can't use it as a replacement for my android smartphone, in my opinion this should be the very first things to implement in a smartphone OS. Moimoi

PaulS ( 2015-02-08 18:40:01 +0300 )edit

I recently saw a new added contact to my Google account was not synchronized with my Jolla. So, I tested the opposite, creating a new contact on the Jolla and wait for it in my Google account, same, no sync. I've tried another way by unchecking "Contacts" sync on the Jolla and sync contacts through CardDav, same, no sync.

I think the best would be to change this issue by: "Google contacts sync doesn't work at all!".

romu70 ( 2015-02-16 15:28:27 +0300 )edit

sometimes it works, sometimes not - and nobody knows when and why...

sorry, but this pisses me off, because this feature is a must!!!

peter-berlin ( 2015-02-16 17:05:02 +0300 )edit

"Sometimes" means "doesn't work at all" from practical point of view. Especially taking into account these "some times" happen at very beginning of sync exercises, when you try to edit existing contact and shift off/on sync manually, it syncs something but after the while sync stops at all, even with such manipulation. Don't remember exactly, now even don't try to make sync alive, just wasting of time.

SergeiStPete ( 2015-02-16 17:17:37 +0300 )edit

I don't know is this directly related, but another thing I'm struggling with, is that the People app doesn't let me modify some fields. For example I have many contacts, whose phone number I can't change on the phone. Does anyone know a reason for this?

This syncing issue makes the situation even worse, as even if I change a number through GMail, the change doesn't get synced to phone. The end result is that there is no way for me change the number on the phone.

EDIT: ok, could be that I'm suffering from this bug also:

AnaT ( 2015-02-16 17:49:05 +0300 )edit

@AnaT, i don't know the reason, but may confirm what i have the same issue. From few phone numbers for the contact some could be edited, some not.

SergeiStPete ( 2015-02-16 17:57:50 +0300 )edit

i have the same problem with the people-app and also with some entries in calendar. the whole google syncing does not really work as it should.

peter-berlin ( 2015-02-16 17:58:10 +0300 )edit

A variety of bugs were fixed in Google Contact sync and CardDAV sync recently, and will be released in an official update soon. You can see some of the commits:

Similar effort has gone into fixing Google Calendar and CalDAV synchronization in recent weeks also.

Synchronization of contacts and calendar data is vitally important, and we understand that. Due to resource limitations, we were unable to fix the issues as quickly as we should have, but hopefully these recent fixes go a long way toward resolving the issues that have been reported in this thread and others on TJC.

Cheers, Chris.

chris.adams ( 2015-02-23 08:48:19 +0300 )edit

So great to this @chris.adams, thanks a lot!

romu70 ( 2015-02-23 11:01:56 +0300 )edit

Chris, thank you for keeping us informed, we'll be waiting for the official update.

SergeiStPete ( 2015-02-23 14:25:28 +0300 )edit

Don't know if you're talking about the Yliaavanlampi update @chris.adams, but I'm using it ( and I can say that for me the Google contacts sync as they should. Adding either to Google or Jolla will sync the contact and edits done in either will sync.

There's a small hickup though. If a contact is deleted from the phone, it will remove both contacts (Google and Jolla), but if the contact is removed from Google the contact information will remain in Jolla.

EDIT: It seems if there's a Google only contact, you can only edit the name. Other fields are not editable.

raketti ( 2015-02-28 20:04:21 +0300 )edit

@chris.adams, installed about 10 minutes ago, tried sync with Google contacts (with sync from pulley menu, no account re-installation) - no changes, sync doesn't work.

SergeiStPete ( 2015-03-02 20:12:05 +0300 )edit

Not a good feedback, I will try a factory reset before or after when the update will be spread to everybody.

romu70 ( 2015-03-02 21:39:12 +0300 )edit

Thanks @chris.adams. It seems to be better than before, but still changes made to contacts affected by this bug do not get replicated to Jolla:

AnaT ( 2015-03-02 22:25:13 +0300 )edit

@romu70, I guess update is released to everyone now, at least I'm not on early release option. Another point, based on my experience with couple or more previous updates, sync works for a while after the account reinstallation. In a while it syncs less and less, and in one day stops sync forever. I have some hope this time will be better, but it takes time to make the conclusion. At this very time the only point is the sync doesn't work on current update without the account reinstallation.

SergeiStPete ( 2015-03-02 23:13:57 +0300 )edit

Thanks @SergeiStPete, I just updated my phone, doesn't seem to sync indeed. I'm giving it some to be sure.

romu70 ( 2015-03-03 12:17:33 +0300 )edit

Sad news...

SergeiStPete ( 2015-03-03 16:54:59 +0300 )edit

Can anyone try the following for me:

$ systemctl --user stop msyncd
$ killall msyncd
$ MSYNCD_LOGGING_LEVEL=8 devel-su -p msyncd

then in different terminal:

$ devel-su journalctl -af | grep google-con

Make some changes, and then attempt to perform a sync, and then copy the logs from those terminals and send them to chris dot adams at jolla dot com please?

I suspect it may be an error like: "invalid detail type: 0" which we have seen in the past (and I'm still uncertain what causes it). Any information would be appreciated.

Kind regards, Chris Adams.

chris.adams ( 2015-03-04 06:15:40 +0300 )edit