Since the day Google Plus opened up for everyone, the message from Google team has been pretty clear. Lets focus our attention towards people and re-invent every other Google product (keeping Google Plus in the centre). This includes Google search, Gmail, Google Reader, Google Maps, Authorship in search results, YouTube and what not.
Google is heavily focusing on the strength of peoplewith whom you connect and share in real life; familiar faces have already started appearing on search results, Google Maps, Google Reader and so forth.
How can Gmail stay behind? With the new Gmail and Google Plus integration, you get all your Google Plus friends and contacts within your Gmail inbox, so this update makes it easy to find messages that are related to specific Google Plus friends and contacts.The next time you login in to your Gmail account that is tied with a Google Plus account, you might see a new drop down menu on the left sidebar, as shown in the following screenshot:
The Circlesdropdown works exactly as labels work in Gmail and allows you to filter sent or received messages from people who are present in your Google Plus circles. For example: I have a circle named mediain my Google Plus account, which I have made to filter journalists and reporters I know. Now that the Circle filterin Google Plus is active, I can quickly find all the emails that were either sent to or received from anyone, who is present in the circle named as Media. I don’t have to remember their names, email addresses and the subject of a previous conversation.
Google has also integrated contact information of your Google Plus friends within Google contacts.
This has two advantages. First, you can export the contact details of all your Google Plus friends as a CSV file and import it on another Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail account. This is lifesaving, when you are permanently switching to a different email address and need a one click option to export all your email contacts and Google plus contacts from a central location.
I use a separate Gmail account for Google Plus and my work email address is on Google Apps, which is not tied to any Google Plus account. Hence, in my case, Gmail contacts and Google Plus contacts will be disjoint sets. But if you are not like me and use the same Gmail account for Google Plus and as your primary work email address; this update will simplify contact management to the next level.
Please note that only people who are sharing with you on Google Plus and have added you to their circles, will be added to your Google contacts. Adding someone to any of your Google Plus circles wont add his email address to your Google contacts list, so this will keep spam emails at bay. Another strong reason why you should be very careful in choosing whom you are sharing with on Google Plus.
The People widget, which Google started showing on Gmail’s right sidebar from May2011, will now include status updates, posts and recent links from people who are involved in a conversation.
Whenever any of your Google Plus friends send you an email, you will be able to interact with them, directly from the people widget on the right sidebar. Another nice feature I must mention is the ability to share photo attachments in Gmail directly on your Google Plus profile. Just hit the Sharebutton next to any attached photo, type in your message in the browser overlay window and choose the circles with whom you want to share.
Be careful with whom you share photo attachments in Gmail because once you hit Sharewith the default option (Your Circles) being checked, anyone can see that photo or download it on his computer.
As usual, Google Apps users are out of luck but Google said that it is a work in progress.