If You Don’t Want A Google+ Stranger You’ve Never Met To Email You, Opt Out Now

If you’re a Gmail user who likes to keep tight control of your inbox, with nary a missive gone unread, you probably noticed an announcement from Google last night waving the carrot of: “Contact more people you know.” Sounds great! But what it really means is that anyone on Google+ can email you, even if they don’t have your email address.

Yes, that Google+ user first has to move you into one of their Circles, which is a matter of a few clicks. And no, they will not be able to see your actual email address unless you actually respond or move them into one of your Circles.

But still — there’s a reason you didn’t give that friend of a friend’s cousin your email address. When you want someone to contact you, you give that person your information. And if you don’t know or are aren’t paying attention, you might think that a stranger who’s emailing you via Google+ somehow got your email address.

Before you panic, start wailing away at the injustice that is free email, there’s hope. You can opt-out, and it might be best to do it now, while it’s fresh in your mind, if this is the kind of thing that bothers you.

The email Google sent you has a hyperlink to a “new setting in Gmail” that you’ll want to click on. Alternately, you can click on the wheel in the upper righthand corner of your Gmail inbox, that should be right under your photo. Then click on Settings.

Once you’re in General settings, scroll down until you see “Email via Google+” and adjust the “who can contact me” dropdown to have those in your Circles be able to email you, Extended Circles or No One. Much easier than freaking out, eh?

We know, Google+. You want people to like you. We’re just not sure this is the way to go about it.