Gmail integration with Google+

True story: last week I was trying to send an email to one of my IRL friends. However, I got frustrated once I realised I didn't actually have this person's email address. This may sound strange - if someone is your friend, how can you not have their email address? - but it makes sense. If you know someone in real life, and all your contact with them has been in person or over the phone or on social networks, you might not ever have had cause to send them an email.

This was doubly frustrating because we've both circled each other Google+. I was like, why, Google, why?? Why can't I just send an email to her Google+ name, the way I could if this were Facebook? (Again, this actually happened. I swear!)

Then, yesterday I read on AndroidPolice that Google will soon be enabling a feature that allows you to do precisely this. Yay! I was happy. No more having to phone people up and ask for their address just so I can send them an email. And I see they've implemented it in a way that protects your privacy, too: people can send an email to your Google+ account, but they can't actually see your email address until you've replied. Clever.

Then I see the following blog post by Marco Arment on the same topic. Look how he has chosen to frame the story:

Google’s leadership, threatened by the attention and advertising relevance of Facebook, is betting the company on Google+ at all costs.

Google+ adoption and usage is not meeting their expectations. Facebook continues to dominate. It’s not working. They’re desperate.

Google will continue to sell out and potentially ruin its other properties to juice Google+ usage. These efforts haven’t worked very well: they juice the numbers just enough that Google will keep doing this, yet will keep needing to do more.

Making Google+ succeed at all costs means exactly that. All previous rules are out the window. Google will eventually violate every formerly held principle if it might help Google+.

You, the users, are just along for the ride. You’re just eyeballs. Body parts and ad-targeting data. Google doesn’t care about you at all. You’ve tolerated enough already that it’s pretty clear you’re not really going anywhere.


What is it about Google+ that causes people to have these sort of insanely over-the-top reactions? I mean, Facebook has had a "private message" feature for, what, seven years now? And nobody complains about that. But Google introduces essentially the same feature, and suddenly it's "OMG PRIVACY APOCALYPSE! YOU ARE JUST MEAT AND BODYPARTS TO GOOGLE!"