The BBC Technology article was the first alert I received to changes being made by Google and Gmail.
Users of Google’s Gmail service will soon be able to send messages directly to other Gmail accounts, regardless of whether the recipient has shared their email address.
I then received an email (see below) from the ‘Gmail Team’. It is important that you take a look at your own settings and make the decision on who you are happy to receive emails from. The default setting is that you agree to share. This is a personal decision but my advice would be to uncheck ‘anyone on Google+’ and either select Circles (if you use Google + you will have grouped contacts in Circles) or choose No one.
By choosing Circles you will enable anyone in your Circles to contact you. This may not be appropriate. For me it is not, as although I connect in the Google + forum, I do not want everyone to be able to email me. I have therefore selected No one. I am then in control of who I choose share my Gmail address with.
Email from the Gmail Team
This is the email explaining the changes.
Gmail update: Reach more people you know
Ever wanted to email someone you know, but haven’t yet exchanged email addresses? Starting this week, when you’re composing a new email, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients, even if you haven’t exchanged email addresses yet.
How it works with email addresses
Emailing Google+ connections works a bit differently to protect the privacy of email addresses. Your email address isn’t visible to your Google+ connections until you send them an email, and their email addresses are not visible to you until they respond.
Receiving email from people outside your circles
If you receive an email from someone outside your circles, it will be filtered into the Social category of the inbox (if enabled) and only after you respond or add them to your circles, can they start another conversation with you.
The Gmail Team
© 2013 Google Inc. 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043
You have received this mandatory email service announcement to update you about important changes to your Gmail product or account.