Google tweaks Gmail to stop auto-adding contacts

Google is rolling out a change this week to Gmail that will give users more control over their contacts list.

Google is rolling out a change this week to Gmail that gives users more control over their contacts list.

Previously, Gmail automatically added new all new e-mail addresses to a person's main contacts list. The feature allowed e-mail addresses to auto-complete when a person composed a new message, which saved users from either remembering an address or needing to look it up in their contacts list.

But the auto-add feature -- which couldn't be turned off -- ended up stuffing a person's address book quickly, especially if a person sent a lot of one-off e-mails.

"We've heard from some of you that Gmail's auto-added contacts can lead to too much address book clutter," wrote Benjamin Grol, a product manager engineer, on the Gmail blog.

Google has now created a new category, "Suggested contacts," that falls under "My Contacts." Anyone who is e-mailed will end up in Suggested Contacts, but users now have the option of letting Gmail automatically move those addresses to their main contact list or not at all.

If the user lets Gmail decide, those addresses which a person has e-mailed five or more times will end up in the main contacts list. If that option is not selected, addresses in Suggested Contacts will still auto-complete, Grol wrote.

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Jeremy Kirk

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