A few days back, we heard of a new Gmail update that has some users up in arms. Put simply, this update aimed to further integrate Gmail and Google+, allowing anyone on the social network to email you directly despite the fact that they may not posses your Gmail address. That was unsettling for some, especially considering it allowed anyone on Google+ to email you by default and was an opt-out service rather than an opt-in one. It’s easy to understand why people don’t want to be emailed by just anyone on Google+, but today we’re finding out that the defaults won’t be the same for everyone who possess a Google+ profile.
According to The Verge, Google+ users who have proven to be especially popular on the network – meaning users who are followed by a bunch of other people – will enjoy stricter default settings. If you’re one of these “high-profile” users, the automatic default for your account will only allow people in your circles to send you messages, rather than the entirety of Google+. A few people will probably breathe a sigh of relief upon hearing this news, but most of us will have to fiddle with settings if we don’t want any odd Google+ user sending messages to our Gmail inboxes.
To be fair, though, fiddling with the settings is the only thing you’ll have to do to change who on Google+ can send you Gmail messages, so it’s tempting to argue that this thing is getting blown out of proportion. It’s also worth pointing out that the people who send these unsolicited messages won’t know your email address right off the bat – your Gmail address is only revealed if you respond. Furthermore, flat-out ignoring messages supposedly blocks future messages from those users. So, while it is somewhat troubling to see that Google will be enabling this feature by default for many users, there are easy ways around it, and it isn’t as if everyone on Google+ suddenly has your exact email information.
How will you know if you qualify as one of the high-profile Google+ users? Google will point out as much in the email you’re sent once this feature is enabled on your account. Google is currently in the process of sending out those emails to everyone with both a Gmail and a Google+ account, so if you haven’t received yours yet, it’s likely on the way. Stay tuned for more, because the hubbub surrounding the update suggests it won’t be the last we hear of this.