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Gmail really likes to make contacts for me and stick them in my "All Contacts" list. I'd much rather manage my contacts myself and only add people when I want to specifically do so. (Actually, I wouldn't mind if they managed the list automatically except that oftentimes I get contacts made from mailing lists and sometimes the names are wrong, which is inconvenient.)

How can I make it so that my contacts list is neither obnoxiously long nor badly spelled and punctuated?

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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The previously-posted answers are no longer correct.

On the General tab under Settings is Create contacts for auto-complete:

  • When I send a message to a new person, add them to Other Contacts so that I can auto-complete to them next time
  • I'll add contacts myself

Screen shot: screen shot of options for auto-adding comments

The second option will prevent Gmail from auto-creating contacts for you.

This was one of many features announced in April, 2011.

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Thanks for the update! –  Ben Alpert Sep 12 '12 at 2:52
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There's currently no way to switch off the automatic addition of all contacts. It's been something users have been asking for pretty much since the start.

The best thing to do right now is to just filter out the auto-added ones.. go to http://www.google.com/contacts and in the search box put a space, then hit enter. That will give you a list split into My Contacts and All Contacts, and you can delete the un-used All Contacts people from there.

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You can't. Google adds everyone you respond to under All Contacts, from there though you must explicitly click the contact and use the Move to My Contacts in order to add them to your list. In short there are two types of contacts:

  • Google's All Contacts which has everyone you ever wrote to
  • And, yours My Contacts, which has only those you explicitly add.

See this article another contact-customization pertaining to when your contacts can chat with you.

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