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A new feature in Google Inc’s Gmail will result in some users receiving messages from people with whom they have not shared their email addresses, raising concerns among some privacy advocates.
The change broadens the list of contacts available to Gmail users so it includes both the email addresses of their existing contacts, as well as the names of people on the Google+ social network.
Google said the new feature will make it easier for people who use both services to communicate with their friends. The company is increasingly trying to integrate its Google+, a two-and-a-half-year old social network that has 540 million active users, with its other services.
Google said that users who did not wish to receive email messages from other people on Google+ could switch the settings so that they receive messages only from people they have added to their networks of friends or from no one at all.
It further said, the new feature would not expose the email addresses of any Google+ users to strangers. One exception to the new feature is celebrities on Google+, who are followed by a large number of fans.