Google's concerned you're not getting enough email.
But don't worry! The company released an update to Google+ -- your favorite social network -- to help fix it.
According to Mashable, Google released an update that will allow Google+ users to send and receive emails from other Google+ users -- without having to actually take the step of asking for and acquiring an email address.
How is that possible? Here's how.
How Google+ Users Can Email You Without Your Email Address
"Ever wanted to email someone you know, but haven't yet exchanged email addresses? Starting this week, when you're composing a new email, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients, even if you haven't exchanged email addresses yet."
That's straight from Google, pulled from an email they sent my coworker this morning about the new feature.
So if you're a Google+ user and your settings are such that you agree to receive email through Google+ (more on that in a second), other users will be able to send you an email without actually seeing your email address. However, if you respond to that email, the connection will be able to see your email address.
The feature isn't rolled out to everyone yet, so in case you don't see it in your own inbox, it looks something like this:
How to Turn This Off
If this creeps you out, there's something you can do about it.
Google is offering the option to restrict who can email you using this new feature. You can make it so that no one has the ability to email you; only people in your circles can email you; only people in extended circles can email you; or, if you're a particularly social Google+ user, anyone on Google+ can email you.
If you set more liberal preferences and you end up receiving an email from someone outside of your circles, that'll show up in the Social tab of your Gmail inbox. You'll have to either respond to their message, or add them to your Circle, in order for them to start another conversation with you.
Personally, I'll be keeping it on for a few days just to see if anyone actually uses this. And if anyone does ... I'll promptly be selecting the "No one" option above.
If you don't want to play the wait-and-see game, you can set up your privacy controls right now if this has been rolled out to you already. If not, you'll have to wait until Google's rollout is complete.
Here are the steps to restrict -- or enable -- Google+ user emails to your inbox:
Step 1: Click the gear icon in the top right corner of your Gmail inbox.
Step 2: Select Settings.
Step 3: Scroll down to the Email via Google+ section in the General tab.
Step 4: In the drop-down menu, choose the emailing option you prefer.
Step 5: Click Save Changes.
My advice to inbound marketers on this feature is this: We don't force unwanted, interruptive messages on people through any other channels. I would apply that philosophy here, too.
Originally published Jan 10, 2014 10:58:09 AM, updated July 28 2017