Google Contacts and iCloud Contacts are two independent systems that work in exactly the same way - using exactly the same protocol - CardDAV.
CardDAV works by having your 'master' list of contacts stored on whichever CardDAV server you choose to use - in this case either Google's or iCloud's. Then each "client" (computer or mobile device) subscribes to the master contact list directly from the server. Your contacts are being accessed directly from the server, which is what makes them appear to be "in sync" across multiple devices.
You cannot have more than one "master" list of contacts. Well, you can, but they will remain independent, and you'll have two seperate contact lists, one from each CardDAV server.
It's exactly like Google Mail and iCloud Mail which you say you understand why those don't integrate with each other. In mail, all your email is stored on the IMAP server, and is the "master" database of your mail, and each device views the mail directly from the server.
So, for exactly the same reasons, separate IMAP mail servers don't "sync" with each other, separate CardDAV servers don't "sync" with each other either.
So, if you setup both Google and iCloud contacts in the Address Book application on your Mac & iPhone, that's exactly the same situation as setting up a Google email account and an iCloud email account in the Mail application on your Mac & iPhone. They are viewed in the same place, but do not interact with each other.
Calendars work the same way, but using the CalDAV protocol. This is not something "Apple needs to get over" - this is the way these protocols are designed to work. You choose the CardDAV, CalDAV and IMAP provider you want and stick to it. There is no way to keep separate master lists of data in sync with each other across service providers (and little point to doing it, as they do the same thing).
This explains clearly how "synching" works. Thanks. However, today I entered seven new contacts in my Contacts list on my iPad. They have not yet (two hours later) appeared on my iPhone. I have iCloud selected on both devices as the default account under Settings: Mail, Contacts, Calendars and I have Contacts selected on both devices under Settings:iCloud. It would appear from what you say that either 1) my iPad has not pushed the new contacts to the iCloud server, 2) the server cannot push the list to my iPhone or 3) there is something else (some other setting) that I need to adjust. Its' a bit frustrating, to say the least as I need my iPhone list up to date and reliable.
Yes, As you explain it, it is obvious that changes should be almost instantaneous. And that is the way my Calendar works. Even from Outlook on my laptop, changes I make appear almost immediately on my two Apple devices. Changes in Reminders are also immediately synced between the iPad and iPhone. That is why I am puzzled that Contacts does not appear to be working the same way. I could of course sync through iTunes but that is a long process to update just seven new contacts. I will work my way through the support suggestions, as you suggest.
Thanks snozdop. Problem solved. I looked at the support site you mention above and followed the suggestions there. Checking on iClouds.com showed me that the iPad had not pushed the changes through to the server. (Your explanation in your first post above helped me understand better what I was looking for). What worked was turning off Contacts in iCloud on the iPad (keeping my contacts on the iPad when requested), and then turning on Contacts again. I got a message saying "your contacts will be merged with iCloud" and when I hit the merge button I got another message saying "turning on contacts" . The changes appeared immediately on my iPhone. Its a bit cumbersome for something that I thought should work automatically and instantaneously, but at least I have a solution if the problem keeps reoccuring. Now if only I could get the Contacts list to update on Outlook (in the same way that my calendar works) everything would be perfect.
It doesn't sync.
You can subscribe to Google calendars in iCal/Calendar on your Mac and choose to have the subscriptions located on iCloud, which enables those subscriptions to be pushed to other devices. They are not viewable at iCloud.com and are read only. That is just showing subscriptions, it is not syncing events across calendar systems.
See the posts from ithos here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3380162?start=15&tstart=0
Part of this has been a poor choice of words on my part (sync). I'm a retired developer and geek and I do "get it". What I don't get is that if Apple Calendar is synching with Google calendar using CalDAV and then displaying (not synching) to my iCloud calendar, then why can't Apple Contacts, which is synching with Google contacts using CardDAV, be displayed in iCloud?
Again, I know it's not happening...but it easily could. This goes back to my original post of why I think Apple is missing it here. They would like it if all Apple users gave up Gmail and started using iCloud mail, but that isn't going to happen because of so many missing features in iCloud mail and poor spam filtering compared to Gmail.
There's obviously something I'm missing in the grand scheme of the war between the big three (Apple, Google & Microsoft).
This has got absolutely nothing to do with Apple. All of Apple's applications support all the major calendar and contact solutions, including those of its major rivals, Google Sync and Microsoft Exchange.
If Apple really only wanted you to use iCloud, why would they bother investing time, money and effort in deliberately adding support for their rivals services? You need to remove your tinfoil conspiracy hat.
Fact is, the CalDAV protocol supports calendar subscriptions (read only calendars shared from other accounts) because it makes sense that certain calendars ( for clubs, offices etc.) would want to share public calendar info.
As far as I know, there is no equivalent contact subscription feature in the CardDAV protocol - presumably because contact data is usually private and not shared between users.
Apple does not make or control the CardDAV and CalDAV protocols. It just implements them in its products.
If you're using iCloud, you don't really need to be using Google, and vice versa. Stick to one service. There's no benefit in getting the data from one service to appear in the other when both services do the same thing in exactly the same way. Just choose one service and use it for all your data, whether that be iCloud, Google or Exchange.
@snozdop: I'm sorry you have an attitude about my question, but avoiding my attempt to clarify my question and getting all spun up isn't going to help either of us. I know full well what CalDAV and CardDAV are so your comment about them was unnecessary. If you'll re-read the third sentence of the last comment I made you'll understand my VALID question.
Further, your advice to use either Google or iCloud shows you aren't familiar with Google Apps, but I understand that you shouldn't be expected to. Over the past six years I've received a lot of professional and helpful advice in the Apple Communities. I'd suggest you read how some of the folks here conduct themselves and perhaps pattern your replies after them. Arrogance will get you nowhere in life. This is my last comment to this post, so don't waste your energy with a reply.
I already explained that, as far as I know, unlike CalDAV Calendars, CardDAV Contacts do not provide the functionality to 'subscribe' to read only data sources from other accounts. Fact is, you cannot do what you want, and Apple cannot add this functionality to the open CardDAV protocol.
Your assumption that I'm not familiar with Google Apps is totally wrong FYI. I use Google Apps for all my own businesses, and numerous client accounts that I manage. Don't make assumptions when you know nothing about me.
I've provided you with plenty of helpful clarifying information in these posts to you, and yet you haven't even had the decency to say thanks for responding even once. Looking at your paltry 5 points, you clearly haven't attempted to help anyone on these forums over the last 6.5 years. I've been here 7 months, and have been more helpful to more people than you have in 6 years. So f u, you arrogant, clueless tw@t. You don't deserve any help from anyone.
Dear snozdop, I know I said I wasn't going to reply again, but when I saw your last post in my email I couldn't help it. It's all about you, isn't it? Points, points, points. The reason I don't have any points is that, unlike you, and many others here who volunteer their expertise and time, I simply don't have the time to spend up here and do that. I'm glad that you and others do this...seriously, I am. If I have any points at all it was from some incidental comment to someone in a thread that inspired them to mark something I said as helpful, or solved their problem. I wish I had the time to spend helping others here, like you, but I don't.
If you're only looking for a "thank you" or points...then perhaps you're doing this for the wrong reasons. I've gone back and read my question, your initial reply, then my clarification...and your subsequent reply and I'm sorry, but I don't see any "clarifying information" at all. I see someone who "appears" upset that I implied that perhaps Apple could fix the issue I first complained about in this thread.
And perhaps I would have pressed the "Helped Me" button at the end of all this if you hadn't seen fit to say your last two sentences in the preceding comment. Please show me anywhere in this thread where I have been arrogant or deserving of those comments? Sorry, but turning the other cheek here.
You came here obviously not understanding how iCloud and Google Sync work, and asking why contacts from one service don't appear in the other. You instantly blamed Apple for this, despite not knowing why it doesn't work that way. I clearly explained how the CardDAV protocol works - and I know my answer was both helpful and clarifying because Aeneas93 said so.
You then proceeded to apply some twisted logic that because calendars work somewhat in the way you expect (even though you don't understand what's actually occurring), then contacts should too, despite them being different data types handled by different protocols. Again, I explained that that isn't the case, and offered some suggestions as to why. However, nobody here can speak definitively for the developers of CardDAV or for Apple.
Despite the fact that CardDAV is an open protocol, not owned by Apple, Google or Microsoft, you decided the way it works (without interaction between separate providers) must be due to some 'war' between the three. Utter nonsense! You also claimed Apple only wants people to use iCloud, something that is clearly untrue due to Apple's excellent support for both Google and Microsoft's services in their desktop and mobile OSs. More madness.
Your arrogance is in your misguided belief that you're entitled to what you demand, despite the technical reasons provided for why that cannot be the case. Also your complete dismissal of the explanations given and your insistence that it's all due to some Apple reluctance and company war.
Where I'm from it's a common courtesy to thank people who take the time and effort to give assistance, even if their help doesn't totally solve the issue, or the correct answer given isn't the one hoped for. I don't care about points, knowing I've helped someone out, even a little bit, is what spurs me to answer questions here. Saying "thanks" is the normal way (most) people show they appreciate the effort.
A puzzle, and a question. The puzzle is why (if what you say above about how Contacts lists won't sync across platforms is correct) when I sync my devices through iTunes (using my laptop with Windows7) the syncing process updates the Contacts list in Microsoft Outlook. That is: additions, amendments or new entries on my Apple devices are updated in the Outlook Contacts list. And similarly, changes in the Outlook list are carried into the Contacts list on the Apple device I am synching. Maybe there is something I have missed or don't understand (quite likely, because I'm a non-techie type). Perhaps part of the answer, if there is one, is that the iTunes synching process and iCloud operate differently - which would answer my question, which is: If I can sync successfully using iTunes can I, and if so how can I, get my Outlook contacts list and the Contacts lists on my iPad and iPhone to sync automatically without going through the cumbersome iTunes synching mechanism?Clicking the Refresh button in the iCloud box on Outlook does not seem to do it.