New setting lets anyone (or no one) email you through Google+ — even if they don't have your Gmail address

Google today announced a new feature (or not, depending on your point of view) that will let anyone (or no one) e-mail you — even if they don't know your address. 

The change will take advantage of Google+, using Google's social service (OK, it's actually way more than that at this point) to suggest contacts and send messages — even if you don't know that person's address.

(Have we mentioned it'll be possible for people to e-mail you even if they don't know your Gmail address?)

At face value, this sounds a little scary. Or at least it has the potential to be annoying as hell. The good news is that Google's going to email everyone when the feature goes live, and you'll be able to turn it off and on at your leisure, restricting the communications to only folks in your circles, extended circles (that'd be your circles' circles), anyone on Google+ — or no one, if you choose.

Source: Gmail blog


Reader comments

Google further blurs the line between Google+ and Gmail


I love ya, Google. But, I am definitely opting out of this one. This just screams "SPAM! SPAM! SPAM!" with all caps, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

This. Will. Be. Appreciated.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Much appreciated

sent from my DROID Eris, made by Nokia, powered by iOS 7 via BBM

IF you read Google's blog article, they tell you that as soon as this is rolled out, they will be telling you exactly how to opt out.

"This feature is rolling out over the next couple of days to everyone that uses Gmail and Google+. You'll get an email with information and a link to the setting when the feature is available."

Yeah, that'll probably make for a better experience.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Nexus 5, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

If you can only let circles do this, I think it's a good thing. If there were no way to restrict it, this would be bad. E-mail is starting to get used less and less with texts, social media, etc. Why e-mail if I can get the person immediately? It will never be obsolete, but I use email TONS less than I used to. Soon, it will be like WRITING a letter through snail mail....only necessary on certain occasions.

Well it took them years typo drop letters but email is here you stay, not for convos tho

Posted via Android Central App on my Nexus 7

Well it took them years typo drop letters but email is here you stay, not for convos tho

Posted via Android Central App on my Nexus 7

I like this but I'm kinda hoping I can limit it only to certain circles. Yes on Family and Friends circles, not so much on some other circles.

This feels like a spam issue as everyone here has said. Spam is bad enough already! I'll be turning this off as soon is it rolls out.

Just another reason in my book to eschew Google + (or any social networking for that matter)! No worries then about this kind of crap.

I agree. I still refuse to joint Google+.

I use Gmail a lot, multiple accounts to I don't have to mix things. My day job company, which I own, advertises on Google and we pay them a lot of money, but ALL that goes out the window when I am forced to join Google+. (Yes even the advertising). For the money I pay Google, I insist on having it on my terms.

This sounds more like a convince factor for those that buy into the whole Google Plus ecostructure than than for the regular Gmail user.

I like twitter and tumble.

All other forms are becoming way to intrusive. I need to delete my g+. I just havent.

Posted from my Nexus 7(2013).

You're on a social network right now. AC has messaging and accessible profiles just like Facebook and Google+.

Damn Straight! I may at some point have joined Google+ if I had found something of value in it. But by attempting to shove it down my throat at every turn, Google has just pissed me off. At this point, I'm never ever going to join Google+.

Like most other features by Google, there's potential for good and bad, depending on how its implemented.

I think what it comes down to is trying to get more people into the world of Google, and if that means blurring the lines between G+ and Gmail, they that's exactly what's going to happen. The more people who use Google services, the more ad-revenue that they make. Last time I checked, any business was in business to do one thing - make money.

For now I think I'll just set it to "extended circles" and see how that goes... I can lock it down tighter later if I need to (plus Gmail's spam filter is pretty good)

I'll be interested to see how this works out though, and to see what other things they come up to pull more users into the wonderful world of Google

It all comes down to ad revenue. The more google can inflate google + (social networking) numbers, the more they can charge for ads.

On the verge they show how it can be restricted to circles or extended circles or turned off completely so at least they have that covered.

I have mixed feelings about this...

On the one hand I hate Google+ with a passion (It is in my opinion the worst thing to ever happen to android and if I ever decide to leave android it will be because of G+)


On the other hand I've actually run into the situation where I've needed to contact someone and been completely stymied by the lack of a phone number and/or email address and then I go googling trying to find them anyway which is a little more sketchy and far less likely to be successful.

I'd also be interested to see how many people opt out. This new feature will only be useful if most people don't opt out. Even if everyone restricts to circles, I'd imagine you have the email address of anyone in your circle (otherwise how did they get there?). And on the surface I think this idea is radical enough that it will catch the attention of average consumers who usually don't care.

Google, I am going to give you a huge benefit of the doubt here and leave this on for a little. See how it goes. Just so grateful an off-switch was built in from the beginning.

G+ has no interference with Android... that's like saying you would stop using Windows because of Live.

Posted from my pure Google Nexus 4 using the AC app.

My sentiments as well! Add every other social network too! Now, all you damn kids get off my lawn!!!! ;P No seriously!!

Best comment ever........posted by the guy who just got handed the corporate reigns for social media today from his CEO, because I have android and not an iphone.......I must be a nerd, says the co-worker......what?

Posted via Android Central App

It's pretty much like chat now, where you can see presence if you're mutually circled. They're just adapting it to email.

I'm ok with this, as long as my e-mail address isn't exposed to the sender. And there should be some indication in the e-mail that it was sent from someone who doesn't know your e-mail address. Obviously if I reply, then they'll have my e-mail address. But as long as I know it was sent through Google+, I can make that choice.

What's the difference between this and someone commenting on your Google+ page? In the end a notification is a notification.

Posted via Android Central App

Nobody uses Google plus... I noticed that Google is almost forcing android users to sign up for Google plus.

Posted via Android Central App

Yep, you cannot even leave a comment for an app you paid for unless you sign up for Google +.

Almost?! They got me with the auto uploading of my pictures, because for some reason I didn't use Dropbox. They got us with the YouTube comments as well. I'd say they're doing a good job at forcing us all onto G+ one way or another.

Posted via my oldie but goodie Nexii 4 using the Android Central App

Forcing? Naw, the more anyone tries to force something on me the more resistance they're going to get. Keep it up Google and I'll dump you like a bad habit!

Guess I'll see you in the iMore forums lol. It's going to happen

Posted via my oldie but goodie Nexii 4 using the Android Central App

Youtube comments can still be made without Google+.

Just did it last night. I think that too many people bitched about having to join + in order to comment on friends and family uploads and commercial offerings.

Unfortunately very true about the forced sign ups. I have a moto x and was not allowed to purchase one on the motorola website unless i turned my account into a G+ account. I had to signed up, and then delete my G+. Then i wanted to buy an accessory, they wouldn't let me unless i signed up for G+. I used to like google, now i'm beginning to loathe them.

This is true. You cannot even use the picture backup without having to endure google+. If I leave android it will be because of this because I do not want to use G+ or facebook or twitter etc. Got a WP for Christmas just to check out.

Please tell me what's wrong with Google+. You don't have to put your information on it, not even a profile picture. You're just bashing it.. Oh and bytheway, G+ auto upload is amazing.

Posted via Android Central App

Please tell me what's wrong with Google+. You don't have to put your information on it, not even a profile picture. You're just bashing it.. Oh and bytheway, G+ auto upload is amazing.

Posted via Android Central App

G+ has 75% the amount of active users as Facebook and more than Twitter... and that's active users; those that post and comment regularly.

Posted from my pure Google Nexus 4 using the AC app.

Isn't this tantamount to admitting that no one actually checks their Google+ feed--need to get to someone's Gmail box to get their attention?

Posted via Android Central App on Nexus 4

Seems like it.

Its happening to Facebook as well. It has become crowded with tini-boppers and grandmas, and every sane person no longer pays attention to it.

Its starting to happen with Google+ as well.
It use to be you got shouted down if you posted any anti-Google+ on Android Central. But this thread is full of disbelievers.

Man, people here LOVE G+ and heaven forbid you say you don't like how invasive it has become. I've had my gmail account for a loooong time, and now they're shoving this G+ and all their opt out invasive bs down our throats, it's not like i knew google was gonna do this when i signed up for it. But come here and you get "IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT DON'T USE IT, GOOGLE IS JUST TYRING TO BE HELPFUL!@". lol. ugh. Sad.

Well if you don't like it, don't use it... no one is forcing you; you just convince yourself that.

Posted from my pure Google Nexus 4 using the AC app.

Can't wait to opt of this one

Posted via my oldie but goodie Nexii 4 using the Android Central App

Keep going google. When will the tipping point be reached that starts the exodus from google? When will it become "cool" to start opting out of anything google related? It is bound to happen at some point.

I am glad I still use hotmail as my default personal email.

Surprised that more people don't have this sentiment. I finally went all google, and now I'm second guessing it.....All the eggs are in one basket.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't understand why people are hating on a feature they can turn off. Just opt out and move a long. Personally I love G+. The privacy settings are easier than Facebook. Plus there is less negatively and snark than twitter.

Posted via Android Central App

Isn't that the point if notifying you of the changes and giving you an opportunity to opt out? Technically you haven't been opted in if you are notified before any chance of whatever you think is going to happen, happens.

All the G+ haters could always switch to iOS or Windows platforms if it bothers them that much .. I have a feeling it won't be too much different over there though.

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly. Google can make as many quirky features as they want, but if they were opt in rather then opt out no one would have reason to complain.

I haven't actually seen any indication whether this defaults to opt in or opt out. Generally, Google has been pretty good about making things opted out by default (contrary to Facebook). Does anyone have any definitive statement or proof that this is not the case here? I'm not doubting that it could be, just haven't seen a statement one way or another.

I have to disagree with that one. And when they are opt in, they practically force it down your throat.

Why don't they make it an opt IN instead of having people have to scour every note about what they're doing in order to go back into the settings and turn off whatever new way they've thought up to link your email to everything. There's a reason they don't make it opt in, because not everyone knows they need to scour the details of every privacy setting every time google opts everyone in to a new social sharing whatever of their G+, or their "upgrade" as they refer to it everytime they try to get you to join.

because maybe we are concerned that eventually you may not be able to opt out. My Nexus 5 had the messaging app removed and replaced with hangouts. I do not want hangouts so I removed it and use 8sms for text. As long as we have options ok but Google seems to be getting more pushy. Might be time to sign up for Hotmail, just in case...

Why do you care whether the app is called "Messaging" or "Hangouts"? It still uses SMS.

Posted from my pure Google Nexus 4 using the AC app.

Love the innovation that Google is famous for bur think that this one might be step in the wrong direction.

Posted via Android Central App

I don't pay anything for these products. Nobody forces me to use them, and I don't really get inconvenienced if I pay even cursory attention to how they work.

I'm gonna go right ahead and say this is oppression anyway.

Yes you do. You pay by trading your personal data to Google. So yeah, you do have a right to complain when you don't like what they're doing with one of the services you use.

Can you tell me more about this? I've had to switch to my yahoo email because of how crazy google has gotten. Now i only use my gmail for resumes, etc, cuz it has my first and last name so it's helpful for that. But i never use it for my day to day life email because now i have to limit my use of Gmail since they love to opt me in or dragnet me into all sorts of s--t.

I wish Yahoo mail weren't so open to attacks/virus/etc. :(. I have to use them almost exclusively now, but every so often, like at least every few years, some sort of virus gets to it and it sends all my contacts stuff.

Google is seemingly delighted to cram bits & pieces of Google+ into every one of their products. But the one that I actually WANT them to integrate it into (Maps), they stubbornly refuse to do so. I know that Locations is supposed to be their solution, but it isn't nearly as good as what Latitude used to be. That, and it's a map inside Google+. Why not just put Google+ in the map?

I have no idea why so many people make a big deal about signing up for G+. It's just a user account that links to all of Google's services. Yes, it has social features. If people don't want to use them, they can hide all their information, leave their circles empty, and it will be almost as if it wasn’t there.

+9002, my parents have no idea that they have G+ accounts, but the fact that the accounts exist DOESN'T MATTER AT ALL, because they have never been to the website and have never put any information on their profiles.

Posted via Android Central App