Google integrates Gmail with Google+

Gmail customers can now use information from Google+ profiles and circles to augment the way in which they use the web-based email service
Written by David Meyer, Contributor

Gmail and the Google+ social platform can now interact, Google has said.

The move, announced on Thursday, means Gmail users can easily add people from whom they receive emails to their Google+ circles. They can also filter emails and contacts by circle, and use their correspondents' Google+ profiles to populate Gmail contact information fields.

Gmail integration with Google+

Google is integrating Gmail with the Google+ social network, bringing the ability to add email contacts to Google+ circles. Image credit: Google

"We'll be rolling out all of these changes over the next few days to Gmail, Gmail Contacts and the 'standalone' version of Google Contacts at contacts.google.com," Google engineering director Mark Striebeck said in a blog post. "Please note that Google Apps users won't see the Contacts updates quite yet, but we're actively working to make them available."

When the user opens an email in Gmail, they should now see an option to the right of the screen that allows them to add the sender of that message to one of their circles. If that person is already in a circle, their most recent post will appear in that position.

Gmail users can also filter emails by circle, allowing them, for example, to view all recent messages sent by family members or work colleagues. Google has also introduced an option for people to add circle names to emails coming from specific contacts.

A key new function for Gmail users is that of automated contact data population, assuming the contact has a Google profile that includes phone numbers, email addresses and so on. If this is the case, their contact entry in Gmail will automatically include this information, and alterations to that data in the Google profile will propagate through to the Gmail contact information.

From the Google+ side, the Gmail integration should result in easier photo-sharing. Previously, photos received by email had to be downloaded and re-uploaded to Google+ in order to be shared over the social network. Now, this can be done with one click.

Google is in the process of tying all of its services to Google+, as chief executive Larry Page made clear in October when he said the company would be " baking identity and sharing" into its whole portfolio.

So far, this has meant replacing the native social features of Google Reader with those of Google+ and integrating YouTube into the platform. Google has also added Google+ extensions to Chrome and is embedding certain Google+ functionality into its Internet Explorer toolbar.

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