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One of my contacts has an unusual name which Google Now has never been able to understand.

How can I get around this (apart from asking the person to change their name)?

I'm using "send sms to [person's name]".

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lol, "apart from asking to change the name" – roxan Jul 24 '12 at 3:56
Maybe this would be a good use for the "nickname" field. Use it to create a phonetic spelling of their name. – Al E. Jul 25 '12 at 19:50
@Al Everett You can add a phonetic name field to you contacts info. – mcchots Jul 26 '12 at 10:02
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Without changing the person's name in their contacts, adding a "phonetic" name appears to work.

add phonetic name

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Is there a way to do this through Gmail Contacts? Currently, I see this can be done on my phone via editing the contact -> "Add another field" -> "Phonetic Name", but editing on the Gmail side would be nice too. – Dolan Antenucci Jan 14 '13 at 20:36
Gmail on the desktop supports this in the new contacts UI. Choose "Phonetic name" from the "Add" menu at the bottom of the contact details. – dgw Feb 9 '13 at 0:38

If the contact is synced to your Google account, you should be able to re-name it to anything you wish. The easiest way is to do it via the web:

  1. Go to and login with your Google account.
  2. On the upper left click on "Gmail" and select "Contacts".
  3. Locate and click on the contact in question.
  4. Click on their name, make any edits necessary, and click off the field to save changes.
  5. Wait several minutes for the changes to sync to your mobile device(s), or initiate a manual sync via Settings -> Accounts then pick your Google account and toggle the "Contacts" checkmark off and then on.

Google Now should now be able to recognize the contact by its new name.

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