According to Google’s current documentation, syncing Google contacts with an iOS device requires setting up an additional CardDAV account. However, as discovered by 9to5Mac reader Nikhil, iOS 7 Beta makes it easier than ever to sync contacts using the same on/off switches as Mail, Calendars, and Notes.
Back in September 2012, Google added the CardDAV protocol for syncing contacts on iOS, but the additional setup meant many users never knew about the feature or didn’t want to manage the additional account. It’s impossible to tell if this is a fluke, or if Apple and Google worked together to launch this integration. Google killed the Google Sync system back in their 2012 winter cleaning, which means iOS 7 must be using something other than the ActiveSync protocol. Perhaps it could be connecting to the CardDAV system behind the scenes.
Seeing that the documentation hasn’t been updated to reflect the simpler process, this is definitely a feature that should be treated as beta.
Update: Many readers have noted this is present in beta 1 as well.