Google has found yet another way to shove its Google+ social network down people’s throats with recent changes made to Gmail. In a blog post, Google addresses the presumed many who forget they don’t have the email address of an intended recipient. With the new changes, Gmail users can send those emails provided both parties have a Google+ profile.
From the Google blog:
“Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven’t actually exchanged email addresses?”
“If you are nodding your head ‘yes’ and already have a Google+ profile, then you’re in luck, because now it’s easier for people using Gmail and Google+ to connect over email. As an extension of some earlier improvements that keep Gmail contacts automatically up to date using Google+, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients when you are composing a new email.”
How it works
Currently, when composing a new message in Gmail, contacts are automatically suggested upon typing in the recipient field. With the new changes, suggested recipients will now include both Gmail contacts and Google+ connections.
Sounds handy, but does this new feature violate privacy rights by facilitating unsolicited emails from Google+ contacts? Not entirely: Google has installed some safety features. If the recipient doesn’t respond, the sender won’t be able to communicate with them further or see their email address, and vice versa. Email addresses will only be shared with those chosen by the user.
This new feature also leverages Gmail’s inbox categories. If an email is received from a Google+ contact, that message will appear in the Primary category. If the sender is not in the recipient’s G+ Circle, the message will appear in the Social category. The conversation dies if the messages goes unanswered or if the recipient chooses not to add the sender to his or her Circles.
Google’s goal is to help people connect more easily, but is this really something everyone wants?
Get me outta here!
The answer is almost certainly No. Luckily, Gmail settings can be edited to block unsolicited emails from Google+ contacts. Email access can be specified in the “Email via Google+” section under the “General” tab of Gmail Settings. From a dropdown menu, users can choose to allow “Anyone on Google+,” “Extended Circles,” “Circles,” or “No One” to email them from their Google+ profile.
This new feature could be considered quite useful as it is often easier to find people on social media than it is to track down their email addresses. But is the Google+ community big enough? How can users know whether their intended recipient has a Google+ account? The new feature might entice some to sign up for Gmail and Google+ accounts, or it could drive people to abandon Google’s services entirely.
For those who are fed up with Google, check out “How To Ditch Google: Alternatives For Every Google Product Known To Man.”