Here are the details on how to sync your Gmail contact with the Mac Address Book. So in this scenario, you use your GMail contacts as your primary address book. Then you sync that address book to all your devices. This works great if you have to work on multiple systems (Windows, Mac, Linux) like I do.
The Mac OS X iCloud system works fine if you only use Apple computers and iOS devices. But it is a bit annoying that they don't provide any options for other platforms.