Google’s Plus integration has gone far too far

Google search is starting to feel like a used car salesman who’s really desperate to sell you a Google+ lemon. — Rob Sheridan

I’m surprised that Google hasn’t gotten more grief for this. When Google Buzz came out, people were furious that they used gmail information to integrate with that early attempt at a social network. Well they’ve done it again and for some reason people aren’t as upset, or as aware.

Image representing Duck Duck Go as depicted in...

Image via CrunchBase

I have some friends that *HATE* all social networks with a pure passion. I have been asked if I want to add their profile, which is nonexistent. Actually, now it shows “Add and invite”.

If I told them that their use of gmail is causing their name to be flashed to every person they’ve ever emailed, boy would they be furious. But they don’t know. Because this breach of privacy is happening in kind of a subtle way.

English: Gmail logo

Image via Wikipedia

It was scary and intrusive when Google started reading our email content and spit out ads related to our personal email. But back then they had earned some degree of trust. We understood the product was top quality and we understood they needed to pay for the cool stuff somehow. We gave them a HUGE break back then.

But they no longer have that trust. We now view them as just another public company. Not a “special”, “humanitarian” company. So each time they break our trust, we should be on their ass.

Social network

Image via Wikipedia

If I sent a gmail 3 years ago to someone I hate, someone who stole my content and put it on his content farm, that doesn’t mean I want my name to appear in his screen on a Google platter to be added to his circle.

That is a breach of trust. Email is personal and private. Social networks should be Opt-In. I am pissed that my gmail is being used in such a cheap way.

I’m dependent on gmail. But will one day get rid of it. I can’t trust Google anymore. They are no longer my default search engine. DuckDuckGo is.

And I’m trying to use them as little as possible.


Make sure you check the comments. Gmail community manager @sarahpriceless responded. I’ll reply in the comments as well.

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9 responses to “Google’s Plus integration has gone far too far

  1. Hi, I’m the Gmail Community Manager. I’m sorry you had an upsetting experience. It sounds like there are two factors to the experience that you encountered.

    Your Contacts list is part of Gmail, but it’s also used in other services that are part of your Google account. For example, when you want to share a Google Document with someone, or invite someone to an event on Google Calendar, we use the same Contacts list. Google+ is an additional part of your Google account that accesses your Contacts. You can delete entries in your Contacts from Gmail, or directly here:

    The second issue is that by default, people that you email with Gmail are automatically added to your Contacts list. While most users find this behavior to be helpful, we know that other users prefer to add Contacts manually. You can disable contact auto-add on this page (see the “Create contacts for auto-complete” section):

    We take your privacy very seriously and I hope this information helps you to better understand how you can control your data. Here’s some additional information on privacy and security that might be useful:


  2. Thanks for the reply @Sarah. Interesting. I don’t know. While I understand your predicament, the way it’s all coming together just seems wrong.

  3. What is the difference between “add and invite” vs “add to my circles” behavior-wise. Does “add and invite” send that contact a msg from me or from Google?

  4. Good question Brad; I also would like to know the answer to that question. I would like to be able to add a person to my circles without sending a message to them. In the same way as I would like to add someone to my address book without telling them that I have done so.

  5. rick cavallaro

    …and how do I say NO to “add and invite”? Or better still make it stop asking?

  6. I would like to know the answer to that question also…….How do I get rid of (or make it stop) the “add & Invite” that pops up on every contact?

  7. Regardless of how much google assures that privacy is secured, they must recognize that google search, gmail, and especially google + are different products. Most everyone has accepted email as a standard form of communication, but many people want to stay away from social networking, likely now and forever potentially, in part because they recognize what a large time waster it is. Therefore google must realize that they can’t force people to use it.

  8. How about addressing Brad Smith’s question that was asked on July 31, 2012 8:49 pm?
    When the “add and invite” pop comes up there is no way to get rid of the popup without exiting Gmail completely. There are several ways to do this:

    1 Put a [x] at the top of the dialog.
    2 “Add to contacts” “Don’t add to contacts” “Emails” [-] [+] …
    3 Tell us how to stop the popup altogether.

  9. I absolutely refuse to invite anyone to anything that I don’t have control over. Up till now I’ve been a huge fan and loyal supporter of gmail. Not any more. Take note, Google.

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