Trying to further bridge the gap between its email suite and its social networking kingdom, Google is releasing a new feature that will allow Gmail users to send emails to their Google+ friends. Fortunately, there will be away to turn this off as well.
The way this works is quite simple and, of course, only works inside Gmail itself. Typing in the name of a recipient will give you suggestions coming from your Gmail addressbook as well as from your Google+ circles. Google envisions this as a way to send an email to a new Google+ conversation partner even when you haven't exchanged email information yet. Or at least that is Google's excuse for trying to mix the two sources of information together.
There are, however, a few caveats to the system that could placate those with privacy worries. For one, this doesn't mean that your email address will be immediately visible to your Google+ circles. It will only become known to them should you actually send an email using the new method described above. Furthermore, you can actually set who will be able to send you emails through your Google+ profile, ranging from none to anyone on the planet who has a Google+ account. Emails sent from people in your Circles will land in your Gmail Primary Inbox category, while those from complete strangers will be under the Social heading. Provided, of course, you have enabled this category feature.
This extremely Google+ friendly Gmail update will be rolling out to users in a few days. Better watch your inboxes, though, as an email will be sent notifying you when the feature is available, which will give you the chance to immediately disable or tweak it as you desire.