When I receive an email, I can see what the sender has saved my email address as, in their Gmail contacts.

Why is this a thing and can you turn this off? Seems pretty weird if other people can see what you have saved them as.

Eg: Bob: bob@gmail.com has Alice: alice@gmail.com saved as Ali and sends her an email. When Alice received the email she can open the email details and see that the 'to' field says Ali alice@gmail.com

  • I can't reproduce this in gmail web nor Thunderbird. Which program does it in your case, could you provide some images?
    – Andra
    Oct 2 '21 at 18:35

A recipient email address has the email address but the sender can set a 'display name' that is different from the email address. How this is handled varies by email client. Some will use the email address itself, some will display a text string in addition to the email address, others will display a text string only. Traditionally most full featured email clients allowed some degree of customization. In Outlook you could customize this on an address by address way (e.g. "John (Work) john@work-domain.com" or "John (Home) john@home-domain.com").

Gmail typically uses the "FirstName LastName email@domain.com" from your contacts (there are some exceptions that I am ignoring right now for the sake of simplicity).

I supposed Google assumed that it would be okay to refer to people by their names since those were... their names.

If you have a use case for saving contacts by names you'd rather not share with them I would suggest using their first and last names in the first and last name fields, and using the 'File As' field for the 'special' name you want to give them.

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