Random Google Plus users will soon be able to send messages to your gmail inbox even if they don’t know your email address, Google informed its users in a blog post Thursday. All they need to know is the user name you signed up with on your Google Plus profile.
Here’s how it’ll work: When you send a gmail, Google will automatically suggest contacts you’ve added to your Google Plus circles (adding a Google+ user to a circle is a one-way street, it doesn’t require that person’s permission as “friending” on Facebook does). That message will go to the recipient’s gmail inbox under the “social” tab. You won’t see the recipient’s full email address unless they choose to respond to your message.
Google is pitching the change as a way to “reach the people you know more easily.” However, it’s also clearly another move by the company to tie its less-than-popular Google Plus social network to its other, more successful services, such as Gmail.
The Verge reports this new gmail/Google Plus feature will be activated by default when it rolls out over the next several days. If you’d rather turn it off, here’s how: Once the feature is rolled out, head to your gmail settings and look for “Email via Google+.” Then select “No One,” as seen in this below screenshot from Google: