Google has announced a tighter integration between Gmail and its social network Google+, in a move likely to make finding a recipient for your email just that little bit easier. Memorising email addresses is a pain, and while Gmail does a good job of remembering who you send emails to, so you can find recipients by simply typing a few letters of the email address before being prompted with matching recipients, Google wants to go further.
Google will soon be rolling out an update to Gmail that allows you to send emails directly to Google+ recipients, even though you might not have their email address. As you can see in the mockup from Google below, your traditional saved contacts will appear at the top of the drop-down suggestion list, and matching Google+ connections will appear below that:
There are a couple of ways that an email to a Google+ contact will differ from a normal email. Firstly, your email address remains private until the point that you send a Google+ contact an email. After that, they’ll see your email address and can reply to you, at which time you’ll receive their email address. Basically, until anyone sends an email, nothing is disclosed. Seems simple enough.
Further, if someone has you in their circles, but you don’t have them in yours, their email won’t come directly to your inbox; it’ll appear in your Social folder instead (if you haven’t turned it off). Such people will also not be able to start a further conversation with you until you either (a) reply to them or (b) add them to a circle. This should prevent much of the opportunity for junk emails.
Of course, Google will offer the opportunity to disable the whole thing if you’re not interested in doing emails this way:
This feature isn’t available immediately, but is said to be rolling out over the next few days. Keep an eye out for it and let us know if you see it first!