New Gmail Feature raises privacy concerns as it allows anyone to email you by searching your name.
What has changed?
Google have made one more step towards unifying all of its services by integrating their Gmail & Google+ services. The change enables Google+ users to send you emails even if they don’t know your email address by searching your name.
According to The Verge, while the Google+ setting is currently being rolled out, the actual ability to send emails through Google+ has yet to be implemented.
How does it work
The new feature will show as you begin typing in the “To” field of a message, the suggestions offered show your matching contacts at the top of the list and the new suggested contacts at the bottom of the list. It is these suggested contacts that will allow users to find you & email you without having your email address.
Emails from strangers will land in a special inbox that is separate from messages from friends. If the recipient does not reply to the message, Gmail will block future messages.
How can you keep your privacy?
Google have recognised the privacy concerns rose by the new feature and have offered a new option in your Google settings, allowing you to opt-out of being displayed as a suggested contact.
In order to change your privacy settings:
- Log-in to your Gmail account.
- Click on the gear icon on the top-right hand corner of Gmail and then click settings in the dropdown list.
- On the settings page, stay on the General tab and scroll down to the section labelled “Email via Google+”
- Select your preferred privacy level from the dropdown list provided. The privacy settings available are:
- Anyone on Google+: If you have a Google+ account, anyone who has you in their circles can send you an email. You can decide whether to allow future emails. See who has you in their circles.
- Extended circles: People who are part of your circles’ circles can email you, such as a friend of one of your friends.
- Circles: Only people you’ve added to your circles can email you. See who is in your circles.
- No one: Only people who have your email address can email you. For example, if a Google+ connection tries to email you and they don’t know your email address, your name won’t appear as a contact suggestion in Gmail.
- Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page
More information about the settings can be found on Google’s support.
But I don’t have a Google+ account, I just use Gmail
When people sign up for Gmail, they now automatically receive a Google+ account so please check your privacy settings on Google.
OSD OmniScience Design Ltd.