Google is rolling out a switch to Gmail that will let Google+ members — so, basically anyone with Gmail — to email each other without knowing the address.
The twitterverse immediately erupted in debate at the possible privacy breach this could lead to, and I have to admit, my first thought went to trolls. Media professionals were among the early adopters of Google+, and it’s a great place to share links to your work. But dealing with Twitter and online trolls is already tiring enough for most. Imagine all that hate-filled spam landing in your inbox? Your already jam-packed, stress-inducing inbox? Of course, there are a number of other implications here, too, including the possibility to make new connections and contacts.
Google does offer an easy way to opt out, or to narrow the range of those who can contact you (see the process after the jump, or check out the photo to the right). Also, Google won’t reveal your email address to the Google+ sender unless you reply back to their email. So, in theory, you could just delete it.Look under your Settings tab in Gmail to opt out of the change, or to limit those who can email you. You’ll find the “Email via Google+” section under the General tab of Settings. Here you can select allowing anyone on Google+, those in extended circles, just immediate circles or no one can contact you via the social network.
Here’s a little more explanation from Google on the update via its Gmail blog:
Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven’t actually exchanged email addresses? If you are nodding your head ‘yes’ and already have a Google+ profile, then you’re in luck, because now it’s easier for people using Gmail and Google+ to connect over email. As an extension of some earlier improvements that keep Gmail contacts automatically up to date using Google+, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients when you are composing a new email.