Google loves Google+. So much so that it keeps integrating its other services into Google+ whether that is a good idea or not. The writing some see on the wall is that Google is eventually going to turn this social service into the base of Google as users see it. Like Facebook, Google probably has a master plan to integrate your data deeper into its clutches, but often it just seems like someone has a great idea and they throw it at users. Fortunately, there is sometimes an opt out available.
Google’s latest move with Google+ is to offer a “feature” whereby any Google+ user can send you an email, assuming you’re a Google+ user. Or as Google puts it, now it is easier for you to contact someone else via an email using Google+. Two sides to every coin. For you to send an email or receive an email the key is the Circles feature of Google+. If you are following someone in your Circles or vice-versa, you or they can reach out. Given how easy it is to put someone in a circle, you can see where some of the concern lies. No one needs to know another’s email address to send an email. But should either party respond, you can capture the email address the way you could always capture an email address in Gmail. Emails sent via this feature will show up in the Social tab in Gmail. The new feature is turned on by default.
The concern is that Google+ will somehow, someday turn into a service where spammers will jump on the bandwagon, start following everybody and then start filling up inboxes with spam. Google touts this integration between Google+ and Gmail as a helpful feature, pointing out that it will help keep your contacts more up to date, and assist in auto-filling an email an address as an example.
You are allowed to restrict the feature so you can only receive emails from folks already in your circles or expand that to your extended circles. You can also turn off the feature entirely. Here’s how.
In Gmail, click on the Settings gear. Then scroll down to Settings. Once there, scroll down until you see Email via Google+.
Choose the option you prefer in the drop down: Anyone on Google+, Circles, Extended Circles, or No One. Essentially, you’re done. But you do have to scroll down to the bottom of the settings screen and click Save Settings to make your choice take hold.