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I've been a gmail user for more than ten years and have recently encountered a serious problem that has me completely stumped: Some of my frequently used Google contacts are no longer recognized when I type the contact name in the "TO" field in a new Gmail message. When this happens, typing the email address in the TO field sometimes works, (but not always). When this happens and I check Google contacts to see if the contact is still there, it is... and all the fields appear to be correctly populated. I've tried deleting the contact and recreating it in Google Contacts. Sometimes this fixes the problem in Gmail and then a couple of days later the problem recurs with a different contact. I use Gmail and Google Contacts on my Windows 10 desktop computer, a chromebook, and a Samsung Galaxy S8 phone. I installed the Google Contacts App as my default app on the phone and disabled sync on the Samsung Contacts app that came preinstalled on the phone. It would be nice if the Windows Desktop computer could always take precedence over all my other devices when synchronizing EXISTING contacts. I first noticed the problem about a month ago when Google Contacts suggested that I "merge and fix duplicate contacts." Although this created more problems than it fixed, I don't think that this was the root cause of the unrecognized contacts problem. I suspect that something is going wrong when the phone and desktop contacts are synchronized. Any assistance with this issue would be appreciated.

UPDATE: I discovered that I can "fix" the "malfunctioning contact" recipient by:

  • Clicking "Compose" in Gmail
  • Either typing the recipient's email address, or clicking "TO:" in the recipients line, and then selecting and inserting the contact to add the recipient's name and email address
  • Composing and sending the email
  • Closing Gmail.

This process apparently "fixes" the problem. The next time I open Gmail and send an email message to the same recipient, I can simply start typing the recipient's name in the "TO:" field and the name and email address will autocomplete, as it should.

This is a cumbersome work-around. I just wish I knew what causes the problem in the first place.

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