There’s convenient, and then there’s just plain invasive.
Gmail and Google+ are hooking up like never before. Soon, any Google+ user will be able to send emails to other Google+ users over Gmail, even if they don’t know each others’ Gmail addresses.
So, simply put, say you’re trying to send an email to me, but don’t know my Gmail address. If you’re connected to me on Google+, you’ll be able to send that message to me regardless.
It’s slightly complicated, and there are a bunch of caveats (as there always are with Google settings). You can’t spam people with more than one email, and all messages sent via this method will be relegated to the “social” Gmail tab.
But essentially, this is a massive easing of the friction involved in sending messages to other Google users. And it’s opt-out — meaning you’ll have to explicitly choose not to allow this when Google rolls the feature out slowly over the next few days.
In a sense, it’s baffling that Google would make the choice to do something like this — especially after the massive disaster that was Google Buzz (which this new feature looks to have at least some similarities with). I’ve had three ex-Google employees email me incredulous messages in the past hour, wondering why Google is incorporating the new feature.
Even former Google+ team member Kevin Rose thinks as much:
(my opinion) If Google+ users need to communicate build an internal messaging tool, connecting gmail doesn't make any sense…
— Kevin Rose (@kevinrose) January 9, 2014
To be fair to Google here, I can see how it’s at least somewhat convenient, in that you’ll be able to send messages to people you just haven’t been in touch with before. I guess if you’re an avid Google+ user, that may be helpful.
But for most everyone else, this seems like an added feature that will cause more headaches and privacy upsets than anything else.