People who I email on a routine basis, or whose addresses I want to store for a purpose, are part of a default folder called “My Contacts” and I can add, edit, and delete people and addresses whenever I want.
For a reason only known to Google Mail developers, the application was created with another default folder called “All Contacts” that stores every email address that has ever emailed you or you have ever emailed, even if you will never email that address again. For instance, if you receive an email from a marketing company, the system assumes it’s a contact of yours and adds the address to “All Contacts.” Ditto for craigslist and ebay sellers who sell you items and you email them a thank you note. They’re now part of your GMail record.
Over time, if your emailing frequency is anything like mine, the number of users in “All Contacts” fills up until it doubles, triples, quadruples or worse the number of users in your “My Contacts” list.
If you want to remove the extraneous contacts without removing your own contacts, here’s what to do:
1. Click the link to view your contacts.
2. In the upper right corner, click the link to Export.
3. Select only your “My Contacts” to export, and save the file to your desktop.
4. Leave the file alone. In GMail, select “All Contacts” and delete them.
5. Import the file… and voila! Your exported “My Contacts” will now be the only contacts in your GMail contacts list, and you will see zero “All Contacts.”
I commit this process every few months to keep my “All Contacts” clean. I did it again a few moments ago. Why do I do it? Because if I didn’t remove the extraneous addresses, they’d keep appearing as auto-correct options when emailing people, which is very annoying.