Google+ Users Can Now Email You Without Your Address

When the privacy concerns die down, will this be a killer business feature?

Business owners are you taking Google+ seriously? Many business taking that social media first step will limit their presence to Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. While Google+ is still overlooked by many businesses they have just released a killer feature that your Sales Manager might be interested in. Google has announced Google+ profiles will soon serve as stand-ins for Gmail addresses, allowing people to send e-mails without needing to know the address of the person they’re trying to contact. E-mail senders simply need to follow someone on Google+ to be able to send an e-mail to their personal inbox.

Announcing the integration on Google’s blog, Google’s product manager David Nachum wrote:

“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”.

Understandably Gmail users protested the feature, which they said would lead to an uptick in intrusive or unwanted messages.

That does concern me as well, but from a business/lead generation perspective, Google’s explanation, that the new capability would be useful for people who know one another, but have not yet exchanged email addresses makes sense, especially if you are already engaging with the target recipients on the platform. Google makes it clear that  you have the option to control whether people can reach you this way with a new setting in Gmail. The feature will be automatically turned on though.

Clair Cain Miller writes in the New York Times that the latest tactic is designed to sign up more Google+ users:

“The change, which more tightly integrates Gmail with Google Plus, is the latest move by Google to weave its social network into all of its products and to strongly push users to sign up for Google Plus. It comes on the heels of an uproar by many YouTube users after Google required people to join Google Plus to comment on YouTube videos”.

This move should not surprise a lot of people, since Google has been constantly saying  that its intention is to integrate Google+ deeply with its other services, so that it can act as a broad, underlying social networking layer. Google has integrated Google+ with Gmail, YouTube and other products to varying degrees already. There are many reasons to start paying attention to Google+ such as its Hangouts feature, which is arguably better than skype. Hangouts allows for multi-participant video and audio chats, and lets people share their screen, work on Google Docs together, and collaborate with many different apps during the call. Conversations can originate on gmail chat.

Shanna Mallon on B2B Insights gives 5 reasons to give the platform some love:

1. It’s Active.

2. It’s Business-Friendly

3. It Improves Search Visibility.

Here’s one of the biggest benefits

4. It Improves Search Visibility—Even Passively.

5. It’s Great for Lead Generation & Nurturing.