Google is about to introduce a new feature to its Gmail service allowing people to send anyone an email, even if they do not have the person’s email address, as long as both people have a Gmail and Google Plus account.
It looks like the search giant’s latest push to involve everyone using Google+. Last year, Google began requiring Google Plus accounts for all YouTube users who wanted to comment on videos. And Gmail inboxes are starting to fill up with constant reminders alerting users to “what you missed” on Google+. Google is trying to tie all its services into a neatly wrapped package, however, many users are slowly feeling the pressure to conform to Google’s standards and are not willing to adjust.
Actually, the new change that was announced Thursday, was met with protest by some Gmail users, who said it opened the door to spam and unwanted solicitations in personal email inboxes, which are considered private.
According to Google, the new capability would be useful for people who know one another but have not yet exchanged email addresses.
“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,” wrote David Nachum, product manager, in a blog post.
He goes on, saying: “As an extension of some earlier improvements that keep Gmail contacts automatically up to date using Google Plus, Gmail will suggest your Google Plus connections as recipients when you are composing a new email.”
The update will be rolling out to all users over the next few weeks, after that a new setting will appear in Gmail called “Email via Google+.”
The ability for anyone on Google Plus to email a Gmail user will be automatically turned on, requiring people to opt out if they do not want to be reachable. In case you don’t want to receive e-mails from everyone on Google+, you’ll have to opt out by selecting “no one” or choosing another option to limit the feature to people in certain circles.
It’s important to note that even if you do let people send you emails through their Google Plus connection, your actual email address won’t be revealed unless you choose to respond to the email. Google also says that emails from Google+ users outside of your circles will not hit your “primary” inbox — they’ll be placed in the new “social” tab it introduced earlier this year.
A Google representative tells The Verge that while the setting itself is rolling out over the next couple of days, the ability to send emails via Google+ will not be enabled until a later date. When the company does turn on the feature it’ll send emails to Gmail users letting them know of the change.
For instance, the change is reminiscent of the set-up of Buzz, the social network based on Gmail contacts that Google started in 2010. Buzz was met with an uproar and was the subject of a Federal Trade Communications fine over privacy violations, before being shut down, reports the NY Times.