I'm experiencing a problem related to Google Contacts, or what I consider to be "Phantom" Google Contacts. I use GMail for email, but Trillian for chat to connect to my Google Talk account. In my GMail contact list I've got about 40 contacts and 60 contacts in some circles I've created. My problem is that when I sign into Google Talk using Trillian it shows that I have over 430 contacts ... virtually all of which are offline. I don't know any of these people, nor have I ever coresponded with them directly ... but Google (and as a result, Trillian) believes we're contacts and may want to chat.

Since these names don't show up in my GMail contacts list, I can't remove them on the web. I've tried removing them from Trillian and they do disappear (I've also tried uninstalling and re-installing the app) but they always come back.

My best guess of where these names may have come from is a Google+ Circle created for Hacker News users I once added myself to located here:


I've since unsubscribed from following that circle, however I suspect that despite unsubscribing from the circle, it's still affecting my contacts, and it's being pushed through to my chat client. This is just a guess since that's the only thing I can think of where my contact list may have been corrupted.

I'd like to find a way to permanently purge these phantom contacts, but don't know how or where to do this.

  • 1
    Have you checked Other Contacts in Gmail contacts?
    – Alex
    Aug 28, 2012 at 20:45
  • Yep. They're not coming from there.
    – Dave
    Aug 29, 2012 at 21:07

1 Answer 1


I just deleted one of these phantom contacts. As I recall, I was in Gmail several weeks ago and a chat request from some unknown person appeared. Of course I declined this apparent chat-spam request, but I think that is how the contact was added to the scrolling 'people list' in the area under the Compose and folders block. As in your case, the contact never appeared among the contacts in Contact Manager, so I was unable to delete it there. Stymied, I went back to the 'people list', hovered over the unwanted contact name, and clicked the Emails link (the actual word, not the envelope icon) in the individual contact popup box then appearing. Gmail then took me to a search results page, but notified me that it had not been able to locate any emails from the offender in the Inbox, and asked me if I wanted to search Spam, Trash, etc. It couldn't find any there, either, but clicking on the down arrow (Action) next to the contact's name on that page resulted in an Edit Contact Details option. I chose that, going to a new contact-specific profile page containing a More button that allowed me to delete the contact, who did not disappear immediately, but who was banished from my people list the next time I signed in. Sorry this is so rambling, but I don't know the proper names of all of the Gmail screens/page components and thought it best to give as much description as possible.

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