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One of the biggest Google+ trends of the past year is the increasing integration of the social media service with nearly all of Google’s services. In early January this year, Google announced that Google+ integration with Gmail had been increased, with a new feature that allows users to email Google+ connections directly from Gmail.
In late 2011, Google announced a number of changes to the way user profiles handle Contacts. Before this change, Gmail contacts and Google+ connections were more or less separate. Google merged Google+ connections with Gmail contacts to form the Contacts you know today. This gave users the ability to add Gmail contacts to their circles directly from Gmail and to also manage contacts for all services in one central location.
Ultimately, the idea behind this was to ensure that your contacts were up-to-date, regardless of what Google service you preferred to use. With the new Email via Google+ feature, announced on January 9, 2014, Gmail will now suggest Google+ connections when you write an email.
As you know, when you type a letter in Gmail’s To, CC or BCC fields, you will see contact suggestions based on the letter or word you type. Now, these suggestions will also include connections from your Google+ profile.
The interesting element here is that you can email these connections without having their email addresses stored in Contacts. If you receive an email from a contact that is included in one of your circles on Google+, the email will go straight to your main inbox. And, if you have integrated Google’s tabbed Inbox, emails from connections who you don’t have an email for or aren’t in one of your circles will be sent to the Social tab.
When you first enter a name and select a person from your Google+ connections, you will see their name with (Google+) beside it. When you send the email, the recipient will be able to see your email address. You won’t be able to see their address however, until they respond to you, or send you an email.
While we can see where Google is coming from with this new feature – it helps encourage people to use Google+ – it could lead to unwanted or unsolicited email, which understandably many people don’t want.
If you choose you can configure this feature or completely opt out of it. Here’s how:
In the box beside Who can email you via your Google+ profile?. You can select from:
For a business, this feature could be a real positive opportunity to extend its reach and people can contact you in more ways too. On the other hand, individual users may not find this to be as welcome. Regardless of whether you are a business or individual user, you should take a minute to ensure that you have selected the contact option that best suits you.
If you have questions about Google+ or Gmail, please get in touch today.
Published on 5th December 2013 by Jeanne DeWitt.