Do you have a Google+ account? Even if you don’t use it regularly (WHO DOES!?) many Gmail users have, at some point or another, signed up for Google+, Google’s good-looking but depressingly empty social network.
Like a frustrated mother who makes her toddler eat all of the pea-flavored baby food even though pea-flavored baby food is clearly objectively disgusting, Google is on a mission to force-feed users Google+, and to this end Google announced a new email feature on its product blog that integrates Google+ and Gmail further.
With this new integration, Gmail users can send an email to someone through Google+, even if they don’t know that person’s actual email address.
Users who do not want people to have the ability to email them via Google+ will have to opt out by going to their Google+ account and changing the settings. The default setting allows anyone on Google+ to email you, so it’s designed to open up this feature to as many people as possible. Now, the people who choose to email you through Google+ won’t see your real email address unless you reply to them, but still… couldn’t they keep bothering you repeatedly through this Google+ system? Why would they even need your real email if they can just fill your invoice via Google+? It’s not a very good system.
Google is framing this change as service to users, a way to allow people to communicate with each other more easily, but this doesn’t really confer many benefits to users, and the default is invasive. For everyone one person who uses the feature to get in touch with an old friend they lost contact with but whom they’ve randomly tracked down on Google+, there’s going to be a hundred spammy/creepy emails. But as long as people are using Google+ to send those spammy/creepy emails, it’s a win for Google.
Stuff like this makes me despair that Marissa Mayer hasn’t figured out a way to make Yahoo suck less, because no matter how many abuses it heaps upon us, Gmail is still the best basic, big email provider out there.
h/t The Verge