New feature positions Google+ for the social business network
This week Google+ announced the release of a new direct messaging feature that allows users to send emails to other users whose email addresses they don’t have in their Contacts lists. It may not sound like much of a change, but it appears Google are stepping up to the plate with a long-game strategy to offer greater value to existing fee-for-service and free clients, while taking on business networking giants like LinkedIn.
How does it work?
According to the official Gmail blog post, when you compose a new email and type the name of a contact into the ‘To:’ field, the new feature will display a list of suggested people in your Google+ Circles (even those you may have added who haven’t yet accepted) as well as contacts actually in your address book. The functionality is in the same vein as a LinkedIn ‘Premium’ feature, which allows fee-paying users to contact other LinkedIn users they aren’t yet connected with.
Is your email address still private?
Yes. If you haven’t previously emailed the person, they’ll see your name in the suggestions list and be able to send you a message, but your email address won’t be visible. According to Google, it will look like this:
I could already contact people via Hangouts. How is this different?
The most notable difference with this functionality is that unlike using hangouts, when you send someone an initial contact via email, you can use formatting, choose your layout and add an email signature, all of which make for a more professional first-approach.
How can this feature help you and your business?
Well, if you’re following key people or bloggers in your industry and want to make contact, you can now do that via email (if the recipient isn’t in your circles it will go to their ‘Social’ section, otherwise it will go to your ‘Primary’ area).
Also, the ever-increasing integration with other Google services such as YouTube means that the more active you are with your Google profile in the social space, the more opportunities you have to be noticed, searched for, found, to contact and be contacted. So get active – post, comment, share, upload clips – because all of this is a form of promotion when you’re using your Google+ profile.
Google+ is also all-too often ignored by businesses working on their SEO. Content on your profile is managed by Google like a standard webpage (unlike twitter or facebook posts), and the indexing means that Google+ profiles will gain page rank is Google search results.¹
Can I turn this function off?
Yes, just go to your settings and choose who you would like to be able to contact you.
Be sure to contact us if you need help setting up or getting the most out of your Google+ profile, or if you want to work on improving your the Google rankings for your website. We love this stuff!
Image credits: Gmail blog post