Been getting emails from Google Plus users lately? Wondering where those emails are coming from? It's no accident. Google now makes it possible for any Google Plus user to send emails directly to your inbox if you use GMail.
The Frustrating Factor
If you purposely hide your email address, the fact that anyone using Google Plus can now send you a direct email may be a little more than frustrating. After all, it's how some savvy marketing teams will directly target people - forget building up a lead list using Hoovers, this is better (and free!).
But, wait a minute. Doesn't this violate some kind of privacy law? Not really. You see, if you use GMail, you've agreed to Google's terms, and one of those terms is that Google can do anything it wants with your information. Okay, that's not exactly true, but Google can set up your GMail and G+ accounts as they company sees fit.
So, why not just ditch GMail and quit your Google Plus account? Well, you could, but there are some ways to get around Google's strange new decision.
Google is allowing some companies with high-profile accounts to keep emails private. What's a high-profile account? Any Google Plus account that has thousands of users. If you're not in the thousands yet, you can't hide your email. Well, technically, Google isn't giving out GMail addresses. The company is just allowing anyone with a Google Plus account to send an email directly to a GMail user.
So, your address is still safe - unless you respond to the original email with "how the heck did you get my email?" At which point, you will have given your email address to the person that was looking for it. You see, that's what you want to avoid, right?
Why, Google, Why?
Google wants to make it easier to send a direct message to someone's inbox. Since Google didn't set up a Google Plus mail system, this is the best way for Google to make Plus users happy. Are you happy about it? Probably not. Since most Google Plus accounts aren't the high-profile type, many Google Plus users will now be subjected to direct emails. Yeah, that's not fun.
Get Your Settings Straight
If you head to your GMail dashboard, you will see a small setting on your Gmail 'Settings' tab that lets you change who can send you a Google Plus email. You do have to opt-out of this option, so make sure that you go through the steps to put your settings straight.
It's somewhat curious that Google doesn't seem to mind messing with a bunch of users. There's no doubt that most Google Plus and GMail users will find this new invasion of privacy intrusive and obnoxious. Do you? Or, do you think that this is perfectly fine for Google to do, and if you don't have enough followers, it's an incentive to add more?
There are two ways to look at this, I suppose.