The Verge, which still uses
target="_blank" on inline links in 2014 (don’t worry, I removed it for you):
A new Gmail “feature” will let you simply type in anyone’s name into Gmail’s “to” field and send them an email. Google announced the new Google+ integration on its Gmail blog today, but company representatives have clarified to The Verge that — by default — anyone on its social network will be able to send messages to your Gmail inbox.
This has to be a mistake. Surely Google will change this from opt-out to opt-in.
They probably will, but only because of this negative press. They were almost certainly going to launch it as opt-out, hoping most people wouldn’t notice. Or — giving them the benefit of the doubt, which probably isn’t warranted — the responsible people at Google might actually think they’re being helpful, assuming that all Gmail users are also Google+ users (they’re often counted that way…) and that this would be a helpful feature.
I don’t know why anyone’s surprised. To be clear, for anyone who thinks Google is some benevolent, selfless entity handing out free services to everyone out of the goodness of its heart:
Google’s leadership, threatened by the attention and advertising relevance of Facebook, is betting the company on Google+ at all costs.
Google+ adoption and usage is not meeting their expectations. Facebook continues to dominate. It’s not working. They’re desperate.
Google will continue to sell out and potentially ruin its other properties to juice Google+ usage. These efforts haven’t worked very well: they juice the numbers just enough that Google will keep doing this, yet will keep needing to do more.
Making Google+ succeed at all costs means exactly that. All previous rules are out the window. Google will eventually violate every formerly held principle if it might help Google+.
You, the users, are just along for the ride. You’re just eyeballs. Body parts and ad-targeting data. Google doesn’t care about you at all. You’ve tolerated enough already that it’s pretty clear you’re not really going anywhere.