Welcome to The Cloud, where you can sync your address book on your MacBook to your BlackBerry, your iPod Touch and even your work laptop if you feel really adventurous and like to cross your streams. The problem is that while in theory this should work fine, anyone who has even owned a Palm III will tell you that different machines treat address books differently and that synchronizing data is more of an act of faith than an exact science. In my case sync my gadgets up has been more like a Dark Art resulting in 21 of my contacts creating 90 duplicates each on a weekly basis. I had tended to my address book vigilantly like a farmer to his crops in Facebook’s annoying as hell Farmville until I had to give for sanity’s sake. I even nuked my whole address book on all devices a few times and attempted to restore them form a saved contact sheet in my Google Docs. Alas It was pointless, Anne, the two Bills, and our entire Quebec City office just kept multiplying like Tribbles in the worlds biggest game of: “Piss off the nice Canuck”. So I let them build up until this morning when I read this post on The Official GMail Blog, at this point those 21 troubles makers had reproduced 440 times each leaving me with just over 9301 duplicates in my address book. The result is that over the past few weeks the iPod Touch’s Address Book would simply crash, GMail Contact look up was a real chore to load even for a speed demon like Chrome and the Google Contact sync had to be disabled form fear of succumbing to hip dysplasia due the incessant vibrations alerting me to potential duplicates after each sync.
So of course I would be very excited by reading these few lines:
If you’ve been considering getting all your contacts into Gmail or syncing your Gmail contacts to your phone, now’s the time to do it. As we’ve written about previously, you can sync your contacts to a wide variety of devices (including Android, iPhone, Blackberry, SyncML, etc). So if you were dreading spending hours getting your contacts in order, now you can do it with a couple clicks.
The truth is that without even thinking about it, I clicked on over to my GMail account and sure enough there it was the new shiny [Find Duplicates] button. I clicked and found that notorious 21 had now been joined by my own Father, some of the Fat Dads and a few clients. This was getting serious, if I didn’t act soon, The Public Health Agency of Canada would be issuing Pandemic alerts and setting de-cloning stations in closed down primary schools across all the Greater Metropolitan centres.
Suddenly 9301 dupes had become 352 contacts, I was now safe… at least for the time being. I still can’t tell if any of the other contacts have been bitten by the new army of zombie dupes or the notorious 21, however I am going to re-enable contact sync on the Storm and at the slightest tinge in my hip holster, GMail will get a double barrel to the head. As much as I like this new feature, it’s hard to commend Google on creating to tool to fix and issue they created in the first place. How very Microsoft of Herr Schmidt and the Google Get-A-Long gang.
If you’re having the same issues, ACT NOW! Then let us know in the comments how it worked out for you.
If anyone else had shivers sent up their spine at the mere sight of ACT! in capitals, you have my deepest sympathy, for I know all too well that you can never regain those years of your life and like all of those scary pictures on the People of Walmart site, some things in life just can not by unseen or unlived.
On order to remove all the dupes from your Android device you will have to do the following:
Settings > Applications > Manage Applications
Navigate to Contacts Storage, open it and select the option to Clear Data. This will dump your existing contact list.
Now to get them back, you will have to go back to the home screen and do the following:
Settings >Data Synchronisation
Uncheck on Contacts and then check it off again, this will force a sync of your contacts with the Google Cloud.
Now check your your contact and you should see the same list that is in your cleaned up GMail account.
I tested this on the Samsung Galaxy running 1.5 Cupcake, if you ran into any issue or have a fix for another Android Device please post it in the comments.