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Two-Minute Drill: How to Remove Duplicate Google Contacts

Google has done a pretty decent job with its Contacts, if you know where to find it. As we’ve talked about before there’s actually quite a lot that you can do with Google Contacts, but the user interface and missing capabilities leave a lot to be desired. One of the problems that many of you tell us about is duplicate contacts. While the FullContact Address Book will handle these gracefully (and allow you to have a unified contact list), for now let’s focus on fixing Gmail’s errors.

The Two Options

Google has decided that its algorithm is good enough to find and merge duplicate contacts, so you can certainly take that route if you so choose. All you have to do is hit the “More” dropdown and select the “Find & merge duplicates” option as pictured here:

If you’re like me though, chances are that you have people who are listed under different names, even though they’re the same person. For instance, my dad worked in radio for years under a moniker. But I also have him listed in my contacts under his real name. For handling this type of situation, you’ll want to do a manual merge by selecting the two contacts, then selecting “More” and “Merge contacts”.

The Problem

Unfortunately Google+ seems to have thrown a wrench into things. Many of us have multiple Google+ profiles because our organizations use Google Apps Gmail. But even those who don’t have multiple profiles will sometimes show up as two different entries inside of your Google Contacts. So the answer is simple, right? Let’s just merge them.

Not so fast.

As you can see here, Zack Shapiro is listed in my contacts twice, but neither of them even have an email address attached and the option to “Merge contacts” isn’t available to me. When I click on the contact, I can see that one of them is something that I’ve exported from my iPhone with Zack’s phone number. His Google+ profile is attached to it as well, so it has pulled in his photo. But the other profile contains nothing other than his Google+ profile URL. There’s no photo, no phone number and no email address. To make matters worse, even though Zack (with his email address) automatically populates when I start to email him, he doesn’t appear as a contact with an email address anywhere that I can find.

This is exactly the sort of problem that we’re solving with the FullContact Address Book. (We even have a native “Merge Contacts” feature, which merges your duplicate Google Contacts in a smarter way than even Google currently does.)

We’re working hard every day, shipping updates to make it the most fully-featured address book you’ve ever used. They’re your contacts, and you should be able to clean them up, enrich them, remove duplicates and then use them wherever you want. Ready to try it? We’re opening the beta soon. Make sure you’re signed up.

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