Gmail, please stop messing with my contacts

When I sync my Gmail Contacts with my Mac’s Address Book, I always discover “uninvited guests” — occasional people with whom I converse but who don’t need to be in my Address Book. What happens is that Gmail will identify people to whom I reply and insert them in my Contacts automatically.

It used to be that it couldn’t be helped, and it was called a “feature”… Now these contacts are grouped together in a separate section called “Suggested Contacts”. Unfortunately, when I run a sync operation, these suggested contacts appear in my Address Book. I don’t want them there. I believe one’s Address Book ought to involve positive effort — effort put toward adding in contacts as they’re needed — not negative effort — effort put toward removing unneeded contacts because software can’t leave things well enough alone.

Gmail's Suggested Contacts

I run the sync operation via my iPod Touch. The sync option is otherwise unavailable to Mac owners, which is unfortunate. There’s something I call the entry tax for being able to run this sync: either you buy an iPod Touch or an iPhone, or you pay for Mobile Me. I don’t like it, but there it is, that’s Apple for you.

There is a company called Soocial which will also let you do this, as well as letting you sync your phone’s contacts with the Address Book. They were in Beta when I looked at them. By now they’ve opened their website to the general public.

At any rate, the problem with Suggested Contacts lies with Gmail, which presents those contacts as part of the normal set of Contacts to the sync software. It should store them separately, aside from the normal contacts, so that the sync software never sees them.