If you’re a Google+ user, you might be surprised to hear that Google intends to open up your account so that other Google+ users can email you, even if they don’t have your email address. Soon you’ll be just a click away from anyone who fancies getting in touch with you, uninvited.
The good news is that if you’d rather not be contacted by any old virtual Tom, Dick or Harry, it’s easy to turn this unwanted inbox invader off.
Computing Helpdesk – all our PC, laptop and tablet tips in one place
New look Gmail
As you begin to type a contact’s name, Google will automatically suggest other users who you might be trying to get hold of, even if you don’t know their email address. It works the same way as Google’s search engine, automatically suggesting your search term before you’ve finished typing.
On the surface this looks like a great feature and could even help you find the email addresses of some old friends who you’ve lost contact with, and vice versa. The downside, however, is that anyone – from individuals to organisations – will be able to get your email in exactly the same way, which is hardly an ideal circumstance.
Turning off email via Google+
To turn off the option for others to email you without your address, you’ll need to head to the Google+ settings in your account.
From here you’ll be able to designate who can see your Google+ profile, and so have the option of adding you to any prospective emails. To block this feature completely simply click on the No one option. If you’d rather take advantage of at least some of the new functionality, you might also pick the Extended circles or Circles option depending on your preference.
If you choose not to turn the option off, you’ll find that emails from people without your email address will be filed into your Social tab on Gmail, alongside your Facebook and Twitter notifications, and so on.
Please do bear in mind that presently this new service has yet to be fully rolled-out, with Google saying that they will be making it live everywhere in the next few weeks. At least now you’ll know what to do when you get the email from Google telling you of its latest feature.