updated 05:40 am EST, Fri January 10, 2014
Gmail users can e-mail Google+ contacts without knowing address
Google is allowing Gmail users to send messages to contacts on Google+, in a new update to the e-mail service. Gmail now brings up a list of people listed in the user's Google+ circles when writing in the contact field, effectively allowing people to e-mail each other without being required to know the e-mail address of the potential recipient at all.
The new addition does include a number of safeguards to help protect unwary Gmail users. A new setting in Gmail allows the user to restrict who can send them e-mails through the new system, restricting the potential pool of senders. The user sending the initial e-mail will also not be shown the e-mail address itself when sending to a Google+ contact for the first time, instead being shown it when their intended correspondent replies to the message. Incoming Google+ connection messages via Gmail from someone in the recipient's circles will appear in their Gmail inbox filed under the Primary category, if Gmail's inbox category system is enabled, though unknown users outside the recipient's Google+ circles will have their messages listed under Social instead.
Google is rolling out the feature to users of both services over the next few days, according to a company blog post, with users receiving an e-mail about the new option when it appears on their account.