Google on Thursday unveiled a new Gmail feature – emailing Google+ users whose email address you actually don’t know. Moving forward, Gmail will suggest Google+ connections as recipients when a user composes a new email, without revealing the recipient’s email addresses to the sender until the recipient either replies to the email or follows the sender. While some Gmail users may welcome the feature, others may see it as a privacy threat… and of course Google has enabled it by default. Thankfully, there’s a way to prevent random Google+ strangers, companies or services that may abuse this feature from emailing you using solely your social network profile.
In order to turn off the feature, you’ll have to follow a few simple instructions posted by Google on its help pages. Once inside Gmail, you’ll have to go to the gear symbol in the top right corner, select Settings, then Email via Google+, then No one, then Save. The new Gmail feature is, sadly, turned on by default, allowing Anyone on Google+ to email you.
Google is obviously trying to tie its Google+ social network to its other more popular web services, although whatever is left of a user’s privacy inside Google’s universe should still be protected in the process. A Google+ invitation has recently landed a man in jail after his girlfriend, who had a restraining order against him, reported him to the police. His lawyers claim that the he “has no idea how the woman… got such an invitation,” suggesting it may have been sent automatically, Fast Company reports.
Back in November, Google angered some YouTube users after making Google+ accounts mandatory for YouTube’s commenting system.