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Gmail eases duplicate contacts problem

Google has added a new option to merge multiple contacts into a single entry. It's only treating the symptom, but it's a step in the right direction.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and writes about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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Stephen Shankland

Gmail now lets you merge multiple contacts.
Gmail now lets you merge multiple contacts. Google/CNET News

One of my beefs with Gmail, a service I otherwise like, is its propensity to create duplicate contact entries for the same person without any action on my part.

I'm not sure if this is part of its internal workings for identifying contacts, an issue synchronizing with iPhones and Exchange, or something else, but it's annoying. On more than one occasion I've had to recombine my own entry back down into one contact, and I've had to do the same with my wife's entry, my parents' entries, and others.

Of course, there are legitimate occasions when Gmail might have multiple entries for the same person, such as when a friend whose personal e-mail address you use then e-mails you from her work address.

Google now offers to treat the symptom, if not the disease. There's a new "Merge these 2 contacts..." link that appears when you select multiple contacts. Clicking on it presents a unified entry that you can save, modify, or cancel as you see fit.

(Via the unofficial Google Operating System Blog.)