Feature

Strangers can now email you without knowing your Gmail address. Here's how to stop that.

A new Google+ feature allows random people to message you

In an odd effort to consolidate some of its services, Google is now making it dramatically easier for strangers to email you. The catch is they no longer have to know your email address — just your full name.

According to a new post on the Gmail blog, all you need is the name a person uses in his or her public-facing Google+ profile. Simply type the name in the "To" box, and off you go.

The feature is currently in roll-out mode, so you might not have it yet. You're also automatically "opted-in," which is the source of most of the early criticism. Theoretically speaking, any Nigerian prince in desperate need of a favor could flood your inbox with unwanted spam.

Thankfully, disabling it is very easy.

To keep unwanted Google+ users from invading your Gmail inbox:

1. Go to your Gmail page.

2. Click the "Gear" icon in the upper-right corner. Go to "Settings."

3. Scroll down to "Email via Google+" — it should be in the middle of the page. You can toggle it off completely or add restrictions like "just your Circles."

4. Hit "Save" at the bottom.

See? That wasn't so bad. Now feel free to completely erase Google+ from your memory again.

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