Google will soon allow people to send anyone an email, even if they do not have the person’s email address, as long as both people have a Gmail and Google Plus account.
You can read more about it at the previous link (a NY Times article) and at this piece in Slate, Google Is About to Let Total Strangers Email You. Here’s How to Opt Out.
Google says they’ll be sending an email to all Gmail users announcing the change, along with instructions on how to “opt-out.” I hope that opting-out process won’t be too onerous. I can’t really imagine why anyone wouldn’t opt-out.
This, unfortunately, sounds similar to Google’s move to use our faces and words in ads late last year (see Google To Start Using Our Words & Faces In Ads — Here’s How To Opt Out).
This comes after Google has been making joining Google+ a requirement for using some of its services, like commenting on YouTube.
Google typically makes it easy to opt out of these types of things, but the do a good job of hiding it if you decide to opt out later. Doing a simple search has been easy enough to find the opt out page of their services before though.