Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Dec. 8 more closely married Google+ with its Gmail and Contacts services, tweaking the applications so that when users open an email from someone on Google+, the recipient will see the most recent post the sender shared with them.
The recent post will appear to the right of the conversation thread, Mark Striebeck, an engineering director for Gmail at Google, explained in a blog post.
While this is the same feature Striebeck introduced last August, there is a new perk: If the sender is not yet part of the recipient's Google+ Circles, the recipient can add them to a Circle right from Gmail.
Gmail users may also now filter their messages and Contacts using their Google+ Circles. Users may view messages from all their Circles or from each individual circle, and even choose to show Circle names on emails in their inbox.
Moreover, rather than continuing to manually enter contact info in Gmail, users with contacts that have Google profiles, which form the identity foundation for Google+, will see such contact entries updated with any profile information a user has shared.
This data could include phone numbers, email addresses and more-a virtual Rolodex of information. Google will also update any of those changes users make to their profile info in the cloud.
Finally, users who wanted to share photos from Gmail with Google+ contacts had to download them from Gmail to the social network.
Now, users may share photo attachments with one click, and the image will be uploaded to the Google+ photos container. Any images will, of course, be viewable only to circles that users designate to share with.
Striebeck said Google will be rolling out these Google+ integrations over the next few days to Gmail, Gmail Contacts and the standalone version of Google Contacts at contacts.google.com. Unfortunately, Google Apps users won't see the Contacts updates quite yet, though Google is working on this.
Striebeck also noted that these features stem from ideas users offered in July, when he put out a call for Gmail-Google+ integrations users most wanted to see concocted and coded. This is all part of Google's overarching plan to weave Google+ into its existing Web services, and vice versa.
Google has done yeoman's work in its melding of Google+ with search, YouTube, Google Maps and now, Gmail. The teams are moving with an impressive velocity, the better to appease the speed-hungry demands of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.