Don’t Fear Gmail’s New Feature That Allows Anyone on Google+ to Email You

By: Sofie De Beule

January 10, 2014

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messaging feature

A new Gmail feature lets you type in anyone’s name into the “to” field and send that person an email. Gmail simply suggests your Google+ connections as recipients, or as Gmail puts it: ‘reach the people you know more easily’. Once the service goes live over the next few days, anyone on Google+ will be able to send messages to your Gmail account.

If you don’t want the new feature clogging up your mailbox, you’ll be able to opt out by selecting “no one” or go for the option to limit the feature to people in certain Circles. Key to the new addition: your actual email address won’t be revealed, unless you reply to it of course. Emails from Google+ users outside of your Circles will land in the new “social” tab. The people that are in your Circles can hit mails in your “primary” inbox.

The change is part of the company’s push to integrate Google+ with the rest of its popular online services. Since word got about the new feature, a firestorm of protest has come with it. Even if you haven’t exchanged email addresses with your added circles, people in your circles on Google+ can still contact you. By making the ‘opt-out’ feature, it looks like Google is looking for a way to match Facebook’s dominance in communication, as the social network effectively made email addresses less important.

But the question is, how much of a private thing are email addresses nowadays? Are people really that secretive? If you use Gmail for business, you probably aren’t. However, it’s understandable some Gmail users find this intrusive. On the other hand, people who already get a lot of pitches every day won’t really notice a big difference.