In another attempt to further integrate Google+ into everything Google, the company has announced it will introduce a new feature that lets anyone email your Gmail account via the social networking service.
Google+ users will be able to email you directly, even if they don’t have your email address or aren’t included in your Google+ circles. All you need to do to message someone is type their name into the ‘To’ field when composing your email, or follow a link from that user’s Google+ profile.
In a nutshell, everyone on Google+ will be able to email other users of the social network, whether they know each other or not.
However, before you start clutching your pearls over possible invasions of privacy and inboxes flooded with spam messages, there are limits on what the service can do.
Although the feature will be turned on by default as its rolled out over the next few days, you can easily opt out by heading to Gmail’s Settings and then selecting 'Email via Google+'.
From there, you can either switch off the feature altogether, or only make it available to certain Google+ circles.
Will my info stay private?
Gmail may suggest your Google+ connections as recipients when you compose emails, but only their name will be visible if you've had no prior communication with them via email.
So anyone contacting you through Google+ will not be able to see your email address, unless you email them back.
Worries about being bombarded by harassment and spam are also unfounded. Instead of going to your primary Gmail inbox, all messages sent via the service will automatically be filtered to the new ‘Social’ tab introduced by Google recently.
Users will also only be able to contact you through Google+ once. If you don’t then reply, or add them to your Google+ circles, they are unable to start another conversation with you.
The new feature is the latest in a series of ‘improvements’ Google is implementing in order to make Google+ a more visible presence.
The company's last major change was requiring YouTube users to sign up for Google+ in order to continue commenting on content, a move which did not go down well with much of the video-sharing site's user base.