Google’s Gmail team sent out a notice to users this morning explaining changes to the way Google+ users can reach you and how to control what is going to be sent directly to your inbox. This brings us a step closer to the integrated messaging solution we want, but does have a few privacy implications to be aware of before jumping in.
The Gmail “To” field will now populate with suggestions from your Google+ circles. If you do not have someone’s e-mail address, you will now be able to send them a one-time e-mail that lands in Gmail’s “Social” category. To protect the recipient’s e-mail address, Google+ does not share it with the sender. Now, here’s where you need to pay attention: if the e-mail is replied to, a plain old, regular e-mail with your e-mail address in the “From” field is sent. Don’t reply if you want to keep this information to yourself.
This new feature makes it possible to get your message right to another Google+ user’s inbox without knowing their e-mail address, but it also opens up your own Gmail inbox to messages from other Google+ users you may not want to hear from. To address this, new privacy settings are rolling out allowing you to filter which Google+ users can e-mail you. You will find them under the General Settings tab and can filter who can reach you by Anyone on Google+, Extended Circles or just your Circles, or opt out completely by choosing No one.
Integrating Google+ and Gmail is the logical next step for Google, which can be a great feature for some of us. Still, as with anything you do online, be mindful that what you share on the Internet cannot usually be undone, and keep yourself safe out there. Let us know in the comments what you think about Google+ and Gmail integration; we would love to know!