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Google Plus and Gmail: An Intriguing and (Potentially) Controversial Connection

Google is perpetually looking to break the mold when it comes to allowing users to connect with each other. However, the tech giant may have stirred up the pot in a big way with a recent announcement that focuses on its burgeoning social network and one of the most popular email services on the web. Regardless of which side of the fence you sit on, brushing up on this development and how it affects the world of email communications, before the change goes live, is a smart idea for anyone who uses these tools or has an interest in the email marketing industry.

So What Happened Exactly?

In a recent blog post, Google announced a new social media feature for Google Plus. The search engine leader plans to add the capability to email anyone on the Google Plus network, as long as they also have an existing Gmail address tied to their accounts. For those who have been around the social media scene for a while, Google tried this before with its previous social media system, Buzz. While Buzz didn’t blow up and take the Internet by storm as the company would have liked, the networking landscape has changed drastically since that time. Before this functionality goes live, Google plans to email Gmail and Google Plus users to let them know how this new avenue of access may potentially affect their ability to connect and socialize with others who use these services.

How Will It Work?

While it looks fairly simple at first glance, Google has several caveats that affect how you can utilize this service, according to a breakdown from the New York Times Tech blog, Bits. To start, simply typing in someone’s name in the email entry field on Gmail won’t get you on your way to connecting with new friends. Before you can contact these individuals, you’ll have to “follow” them on Google Plus. Once you click the follow button on the person’s profile, which doesn’t require his or her permission, feel free to shoot off an email from your Gmail account by typing the person’s name into the recipient field.

There are a few other things to keep in mind once you send off an email. First, the receiving party’s email address won’t be visible to you unless he or she decides to respond. Additionally, the emails that originate from Google Plus won’t end up in the “Primary” inbox tab in Gmail. Instead, recipients will find these messages under the “Social” tab with other transmissions from social networks and similar properties. Additionally, opting out of the process is also an option. By selecting the “General” tab under the Gmail settings section of the inbox, you can turn this feature off and avoid unsolicited emails entirely.

Why Google Thinks This Is a Great Idea

There are a few other things to keep in mind once you send off an email. First, the receiving party’s email address won’t be visible to you unless he or she decides to respond. Additionally, the emails that originate from Google Plus won’t end up in the “Primary” inbox tab in Gmail. Instead, recipients will find these messages under the “Social” tab with other transmissions from social networks and similar properties. Additionally, opting out of the process is also an option. By selecting the “General” tab under the Gmail settings section of the inbox, you can turn this feature off and avoid unsolicited emails entirely.

Why Others Aren’t So Excited

While the search engine and social media leader might be excited, it’s not unexpected to have a few naysayers pop up around every major announcement. As noted in the aforementioned NY Times blog, the fear of this new feature compromising user privacy is apparently an issue to some. While Internet privacy is a very serious issue and not something to simply brush aside, reading the official blog release on the subject illuminates two key points on this subject. First, simply not responding to entries that fall into the social tab is completely acceptable. Second, the aforementioned opt-out feature exists in this new structure to allow those not looking to make new connections a chance to turn off this functionality and close the doors to outside communications if they so choose.

What It Means in the Long Run

So what does this mean for email communications moving forward? To start, if adoption of this new program enjoys sustained success, expect other major players in the email and social media industries to follow the lead and build connections of their own. Even if this doesn’t happen, simply having one of the leaders in this sector bridge the gap opens up some great opportunities for individuals and organizations looking to reach out to others with similar interests or shared needs.

To wrap things up, this latest innovation from Google has the ability to revolutionize how users of Gmail and social media connect. By offering an optional service to forge new contacts, marketers and individuals alike can reach out to one another and exchange information voluntarily. Naturally, privacy is a big issue when it comes to meeting new people on the Internet, and many will undoubtedly want to opt out before the emails start flowing in. However, Google has clearly offered enough flexibility and options to make this a lasting and potentially beneficial change to how you interact with others in virtual space.

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About Victor Green

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