Google linking of social network contacts to email raises concerns

Updated on: 2014-01-10 || Source: bbc.com

(Reuters) - A new feature in Google Inc's Gmail will result in some users receiving messages from people with whom they have not shared their email addresses, raising concerns among some privacy advocates.

The change, which Google announced on Thursday, broadens the list of contacts available to Gmail users so it includes both the email addresses of their existing contacts, as well as the names of people on the Google+ social network. As a result, a person can send an email directly to friends, and strangers, who use Google+.

Google is increasingly trying to integrate its Google+, a two-and-a-half-year old social network that has 540 million active users, with its other services. When consumers sign up for Gmail, the company's Web-based email service, they are now automatically given a Google+ account.

Google said the new feature will make it easier for people who use both services to communicate with their friends.

"Have you ever started typing an email to someone only to realize halfway through the draft that you haven't actually exchanged email addresses?" the company said in a blog post announcing the feature. "You're in luck, because now it's easier for people using Gmail and Google+ to connect over email."

Google said that users who did not wish to receive email messages from other people on Google+ could switch the settings so that they receive messages only from people they have added to their networks of friends or from no one at all.

Some privacy advocates said Google should have made the new feature "opt-in," meaning that users should explicitly agree to receive messages from other Google+ users, rather than being required to manually change the setting.

Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the new feature "troubling."

"There is a strong echo of the Google Buzz snafu," he said, referring to a social networking service that Google launched in 2010. Buzz initially used its Gmail users' contact lists to create social networks that the rest of the world could see, leading to an uproar and ultimately a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Google said the new feature would not expose the email addresses of any Google+ users to strangers. Emails from strangers on Google+ will be routed to a special section within the recipients mailbox that is separate from messages from friends and other contacts. If the recipient does not reply to the message, Gmail will block any future messages from that person.

A Google spokeswoman said the company planned to send an email to all Google+ users during the next two days alerting them to the change and explaining how to change their settings.

One exception to the new feature is celebrities on Google+, who are followed by a large number of fans. According to the spokeswoman, the Gmail accounts of such public figures will not automatically receive emails from other Google+ users.

(Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic. Editing by Andre Grenon)

News

Blackphone 2 'privacy' Android handset revamped
Security firm Silent Circle has revamped its smartphone that helps people manage personal data.
Chinese smartphones mount massive web attack
More than 650,000 Chinese smartphones have been unwittingly enrolled in a massive attack that overwhelmed a web
Hilton investigates hack claims
The Hilton hotel group has said it is investigating claims its US shops and gift stores may be the source of
Twitter website 'blocked' in Turkey
Twitter users in Turkey report that the social media site has been blocked in the country.

SIGN UP FOR NEWSLETTER

Sign up to received our free newsletter!
Name:
E-mail ID:

MOST READ

Views: 4549 Times
Create User Forms in Microsoft Excel READ MORE
Views: 2783 Times
Google makes search more human with Knowledge Graph READ MORE
Views: 2621 Times
Apple pays $60 million to settle China iPad trademark dispute READ MORE
Views: 5232 Times
Automated System Recovery (ASR) READ MORE
Views: 7088 Times
Create Smooth Bubbles (Photoshop) READ MORE

Home|IT News|Computer Tips|Video Tutorials|Download Softwares|Subjects|Contact Us
Copyright © 2018. Jumbo Education (Information Technology). All rights reserved.
Free counter and web stats

Large Visitor Globe