Gmail’s New ‘Send to Anyone on Google+’ Feature

This past week, Google announced that they would be releasing a new ‘Send to Anyone’ feature on Gmail.  This feature will allow anyone with both a Gmail and Google+ account to send you emails to your inbox – even if they don’t know your email address!  I’m not too worried myself, since I don’t have that many people in my circles or following me but the idea of not having control of what emails come through to my inbox is one that is a bit unsettling.

Gmail Send to Anyone Feature

In any case, here are a few quick facts that you should know about this new feature. (You’re welcome!)

  1. You need to have both a Gmail and Google+ account to use this feature
  2. You can control who can contact you – there are 4 options to choose from:
    • Anyone on Google+: anyone who follows you on Google+ can send you a message
    • Extended Circles: anyone who you follow or follows someone you follow can send you a message
    • Circles: only the people you follow in your circles can send you a message
    • No One: you will not receive any messages through Google+ using this feature

    Find this in your Gmail General Settings tab.

  3. This feature is currently only available on desktop version of Gmail
  4. People can only message you once using this feature which means that they cannot continue to pester you if you choose not to engage or reply to their message
  5. Messages from people who are in your circle will be filtered through to your Primary tab; all others should show up in the Social tab
  6. Google+ users were already able to message each other through Hangouts but this new feature will allow messages to come in an email format
  7. If you receive messages from people who don’t want messaging you, you can mark the messages as spam to prevent further messages
  8. Find more information on Google’s official support page for this feature

What I think is neat about this feature is the added level of separation/protection against providing personal information to people that you don’t know very well.  Think BBM – you want to chat but don’t want to give them your phone number. Think LinkedIn vs Facebook – you want to connect but don’t want them to see everything about your daily life.  In a world where we are becoming more and more digitally connected, networks are realizing that people still have reservations about sharing too much and they are taking steps to provide that extra level of separation/customization.

I can see how this feature can be handy for reaching out to people that perhaps, I just met or have not yet met face to face – I still have opted to turn off this feature for now until I can decide whether it is useful for me. What do you think of this new feature?

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