Everybody panic!

10 Jan 2014 admin In G+ Posts

Great explanation of the new GMail features that some seem to be freaking out over….

Originally shared by +Andy Bohm

Everybody panic!
How I learned to stop worrying and love the GMail.

I've seen a lot of interesting speculation today, and it's always interesting to me to see what people's reactions are. What I've learned is that nearly everyone jumps to worst case scenario. How will this new thing affect me?!?

So here's the thing. It's not that bad. Really. It's a new feature. Life will go on. In fact, it may even be better than before! But probably, your GMail just got a new feature. It's not going to change your life, nor will it end it.

My job is too look at things from a Privacy perspective, and let's face it, people don't ask me when they prepare press releases. In fact, my favorite posts are the ones where the PR people yell at me and say "Hey! You're not a spokesman! People shouldn't listen to you that much!" So let's make that happen, ok?

Let's get to this:

1. "OMG! I'm going to get hammered by a barrage of email from strangers!" What will actually happen: Potentially creepy people can send you ONE email from this. ONE. No repeat performance. And not only will they not see your email address, you can report it as spam right from that incoming message. Or you can delete the message, and that person can never use that channel to contact you again.

2. "When I first set up my profile, there was a checkbox to allow people to email me from my profile page! I said no!" Yup. You said no. That stands. Nothing to worry about here. You've turned this feature off before it ever turned on.

3. "I'm a public figure! I don't want everyone to be able to email me!" My favorite is this one: http://goo.gl/UFtys I especially love that the left hand side contains links to his Facebook page, Twitter page, personal domain, Forbes page and so on. There's a big FOLLOW button right under the man's face. You know what this is? One more way to be contacted, and you can turn it off. And for the journalists who still think G+ is a ghost town, what are you worried about? We're not here. No one's gonna bug you.

4. "I don't need all these people filling up my address book when I'm emailing people!" They won't. If you start an email to, let's say "Dan", the first Dan in your autocomplete will be the one in your address book. Or the seven Dans in your address book. Then you'll see G+ Contacts below a separator. And those will only be the Dans in your circles.

Really, from the privacy point of view, this is well implemented. No person is revealed to another without their knowledge. There's lots of consent, and a clear way to turn it off.

If people start to spam you, please Report and Block. Turn it off completely if you're concerned. I plan to give it a shot before judging. Please, feel free to flood my GMail Social Inbox with your strong opinions. Really, I do want to hear them.

Extra, non-profile disclaimer on this one: I don't speak for my employer, nor do I work on GMail. My opinions are my own, and sometimes make even my own peers angry. But we welcome dissent along with open and frank discussions. So I'm speaking my own mind, and my opinions don't necessarily go along with those of my employer.

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