A new feature in Gmail now lets you send emails to your Google+ contacts, but your email address will remain hidden until you do so.
Google+ doesn't really have direct messaging per se — the only way to contact just one person had previously been to share a locked post with that person only — but that's about to change. Google has introduced a new feature that allows you to email any one of your Google+ connections, the company has announced.
This does not mean that your email address will be handed out to everyone who has added you in their circles. How it works is, when you start to compose an email, your Google+ connections will appear in the drop-down suggestion box. Your email address will only be shared with people on your Google+ network if you choose to send them an email.
Likewise, their email addresses will only be shared with you if they email you — either directly or as a reply to your email — so you can control who has your contact information.
The emails will then be filed into Google's recently introduced email tabs according to how they are connected to you. If you have them in your circles, the email will go into the Primary inbox. If the person is not in your circles, the email will be sent to the Social tab.
If you do not wish anyone to be able to send a message to your inbox, though, a special setting will allow you to control who can send you emails — from everyone on Google+ through to no one.
The feature will be rolling out to everyone who uses these services over the next few days. When it becomes available to you, you will receive an email detailing how the service works — and containing a link to the Google+ Gmail setting so that you define your preferences straight away.