Google Plus announced last week a new feature that would allow people who don't know you – or even have your email address – to send mail to your Gmail inbox.
Most news organizations played the story as strangers now being able to clog up your inbox with unsolicited messages, and some even ran instructions on opting out.
Slate.com's Will Oremus
noted that the fact Google makes users opt out rather than giving them the opportunity to opt in is a sign the company recognizes the feature won't be popular.
The feature is the company's latest attempt to boost usage of its alternative to Facebook. Google Plus has never lived up to the hype that it would become a viable challenger to Facebook, so it has attempted to increase its usage by automatically tying it to the company's more popular products, such as YouTube and Gmail.
If a user attempts to delete his Google Plus account he is warned that doing so will also delete the user's Gmail, YouTube, and other Google products.
Oremus says the new feature allowing strangers to send email to Gmail users won't allow for spam bombardments. If a Gmail user doesn't reply to an email or doesn't add the person to his contacts, the sender cannot send more emails to the user.
Sending emails through Google Plus also does not reveal the recipient's email address to the sender.
Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center told the Los Angeles Times
that the new feature is "eerily similar to the Buzz fiasco, when Google tried to force Gmail users into Google's social network service Buzz," which was ruled to have violated their privacy.
© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.