The Controversial New Google+ and Gmail Feature

The Controversial New Google+ and Gmail Feature

Google have been very hard at work lately, but it seems that what they are working hardest at is getting you to use Google+. That has been a hard sell as the almost-a-social-media-site has struggled to gain a foothold and slow down the momentum of Facebook.

The attempt to bolster the relevance of Google+ that has most people up in arms is the integration of YouTube comments and Google+. This created a huge backlash as YouTube users seem to love their anonymity * and find value in saying horrible things and not being accountable for it. A very valid point of contention is how users are forced to use one social media site in order to use another, but this latest development from Google is quite shocking.

Google allows Google+ followers to message your private inbox

Google announced yesterday, January 9, that they are allowing those in your Google+ circles to send messages to your private Gmail account. The ‘failsafe’ that Google is incorporating into this is that only those who you have already emailed you may see your address. All messages from those who you have not messaged before go to the ‘Social’ tab in your email, and that they may not message you multiple times if you do not message them back.

For those with a tight knit group of co-workers and friends in their Google+ circles, this won’t be a problem. For those who are high influencers, with thousands of followers in their Google+ circles, this could be a major headache of spam and random messaging from those with good intentions and poor execution.

The opt out clause for the new Google+ feature

The things about this that is really bothering people is that it is an ‘opt out,’ rather than an ‘opt in’ function. Meaning that Google automatically set it so that people can message you over Google+ and that you have to, first, know that this exists at all, and second, know how to opt out if you so choose.

Google are also notifying all of their users with an email. How many of you actually read everything that Google sends you? Well, I do, and the email notifying you of this is titled “Gmail update: Reach more people you know.” The content is pretty much the same wording as the post linked to at the beginning of this, but with links within it that take you to your Google settings page.

For those who don’t read all of their email from Google, and those who haven’t read a post on this topic, they are automatically a part of this opt out feature. They will be receiving all kinds of messages and not know why. That is the most major, and most valid, concern with this new feature.

How to opt out of the new Google+ circles feature

If you still have that email around you will see a link at the very bottom telling you where the new Google+ settings are:

Clicking on the ‘new settings in Gmail’ link will take you to the Settings page. If you have deleted this message and do not know how to get to your Settings page, click on the little gear box in the upper right hand corner and select ‘Settings’ from the drop down menu:

change your settings in google

Scroll down to the ‘Email via Google+’ setting and click on the drop down menu on the selection you want, ‘No one’ is the setting for those who wish to opt out of the feature entirely.

Change your Google+ circles setting

Google is already the biggest name in search. Why they are trying so hard to be the biggest name in EVERYTHING is, well, the essence of capitalism. But this latest series of moves has some people scratching their heads as they wonder if Google has lost sight of their old slogan: “Don’t be evil.”

*You should see some of the trolling messages I got for coming out in support of cleaning up YouTube comments. It further proves my point that the Internet is full of very silly people who need to learn how to construct an argument without swear words.

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