A Significant Change To Gmail
Google has started their new year off just as they ended last year – by making changes to its major products. This one actually has some sort of useful practicality associated with it.
Yesterday, Google made a significant change to Gmail. Starting today, you will now be able to email all of your Google+ contacts, directly from the Gmail web application, even if you don’t know their email address.
Of course this also works the other way around, in that, anyone on Google+ can email you – unless you edit your settings. I’m sure you can imagine the privacy concerns and implications of this new feature, and Google has too. They’ve smartly added settings for you to specific who can send you emails.
Your options include “No One”, “Circles”, “Extended Circles”, and the wide open “Anyone on Google+.” The last one is one to be very careful with.
Remember that anyone with a Gmail address is, by default, “on Google+”, Regardless if they use the G+ social platform or not. TechCrunch rightly notes that “because Google+ is now the default platform for YouTube commenting, and required for things like setting up a new Gmail account, the “Anyone on Google+” option is much larger today than in earlier years. Many people are technically “on Google+,” even if they aren’t active on the Google+ destination site itself.”
So How Does It Work Exactly?
When I first read about this I thought, “so will everyone know my email address?” Rest assured, this is NOT the case.
Google says that although anyone you specify can send you emails, no one will see your email address, Google+ connection or not, until you send that person a reply. You also wouldn’t be able to see the email address of someone you send an email to until they reply to you.
Google’s blog post on this new feature explains it this way:
“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.”
“As you can tell from the example above, these emails work a bit differently so that your email address is only shared with the people you want. Your email address isn’t visible to a Google+ connection unless you send that person an email, and likewise, that person’s email address isn’t visible to you unless they send you an email.”
Google says this new Gmail feature will roll out to everyone over the next couple of days, provided you’re using Gmail and Google+. Users will be notified by an email with information and a link to the setting.
What are your thoughts on Google’s first major change in Gmail in 2014?