Is Google deleting G+ emails out of your inbox actually a step forward towards data…

By | July 27, 2012
Is Google deleting G+ emails out of your inbox actually a step forward towards data privacy of the future?

+fan tai , this is not a violation of trust. In fact, this solution may be closer to the solution that business needs in order to integrate 'social' into daily business processes than anything else.

See, what Google notifies you in your GMail inbox is not an email. You can't forward it. You can't do anything with it except read it (or reply on G+). It is, however, a link to the G+ notification. That's some big-time integration.

Why this seemingly non-intuitive behaviour actually solves a lot of problems

One of the biggest problems about using social data in business is that you can't legally archive content that you don't own, especially if you don't have any legally binding agreement with that user. But that user has an agreement with the platform (G+), and that platform has an agreement with you. If they edit their post, you have only access to the new version of the post, consistent with your platform agreement and consistent with their platform agreement.

One solution would be to only provide a link to the comment or post. But, that is annoying: you want to triage through the content, not have to click a link and then think, 'sigh. That click was a waste of time.' So Google went to the extra step of automatically blending in the content for you, allowing you to have the ease of use associated with automated emails, without the hassle of violating user privacy.

While the solution isn't perfect, as most users don't expect this kind of behaviour, it certainly is a step forward in making the social web and the business network come together in a frictionless environment which still manages to respect everyone's rights. Perhaps what would be a better iteration would be to keep that email, with a note 'This post has been deleted' and the content no longer present. I get a lot of those notifications, and that's fine.

/via +Ninja On Rye 

Reshared post from +fan tai

Make sure you enable emailed notification in G+
Create a public post on G+.
Have a friend post a comment.
Check your INBOX — see the comment.
Have friend delete comment.
See that email disappear from your INBOX.

Isn't that a pretty major violation of trust?

Embedded Link

Google deletes G+ emails out of INBOX without consent? – Slashdot
Make sure you enable emailed notification in G+Create a public post on G+.Have a friend post a comment.Check your INBOX — see the comment.Have friend delete comment.See that email disappear from your …

18 thoughts on “Is Google deleting G+ emails out of your inbox actually a step forward towards data…

  1. Tom Voute

    I found two work arounds. One is: forward thebmail to another account. Either through a filter or forward all. I know this works with sending to a Yahoo account but another Gmail account should work too.
    Another way that works is: switch on preview in Gmail labs and when you right click on the message you still see the deleted message.

  2. Sophie Wrobel

    +Benjamin So +Per Siden I think what we need is innovation in terms of a clear, usable separation between platform and tool.

    A Tool is a simple idea without bells and whistles: Examples of this are an email, or a tweet, or a poll.

    A Platform is a complex connecting layer enabling tools to work together, and unify them with user or organization or state needs and requirements.

    Until we can manage to separate the two of them, and combine and unify competing services via common communication protocols between Tools and Platforms, we'll continue to live in the messy blurred chaos we are in today.

  3. Per Siden

    Yes +Sophie Wrobel I do. But that never addressed the main problems with mail; that you can't see outstanding issues, which conversations as still unanswered and which are closed, that you can't let people join and leave the conversation and that the content of the discussion gets quoted and copied and pasted and duplicated until it becomes a mess.

    Let's face it, mail today works best for sending out spam and to some extent for conversations between two people. For anything more complicated than that it is utterly useless and costs an enormous amount of time for businesses world-wide.

  4. Per Siden

    Indeed, +Craig Perko. It's just an extension to mail, and god knows mail need to be extended and improved radically, so I'm all go there. We just have to keep apart new functionality (which is great) and the problem of pushing things onto users without consent (which is the Facebook way of doing things).

    Personally I would have liked for something brand new to replace email altogether, but since that seems unlikely to happen, given nothing have improved much in the last 30 or so years, I welcome any improvements. What was pretty cool in '89 and worked sufficient in '99 is just not up to the job anymore.

  5. Benjamin So

    +Per Siden Agreed. e-mails are extremely inefficient for short, high-volume communication. Maybe Google Wave will make a comeback to solve this problem.

  6. Sophie Wrobel

    +fan tai +Craig Perko This is probably due to the big mass of water separating us, but over here there's something that is nicknamed the right to be forgotten. I suspect that is what is really hiding behind all of it – Google and several other big US companies have been getting flack lately for their data privacy policies.

    But the real unsolved question among all of it is, where do you draw the line between user expectations, business requirements, and legal requirements?

    +Per Siden Do you remember Microsoft's experiment sometime ago (must be about 15 years now) with emails that you could recall and change? Never really caught on, but goes along the same line… 

  7. Craig Perko

    +Per Siden I think there's definitely a place for "forgetting" or "continually alterable correspondence", if everyone involved is aware and agrees. But it needs to be a lot clearer, and not screw with what many of us consider to be reliable memories.

  8. Per Siden

    +Craig Perko, I thinks it is a really nice feature, but some sort of opt-in would definitely have been in order.

    This kind of functionality should also have a proper, well-defined API so that other services tan Google+ could also support updates, as long as we chose to authorize them to do so. And even if "dynamic" mails are very handy, they probably ought to look a wee bit different from ordinary mails.

  9. fan tai

    I'm with +Craig Perko.  Gmail is for email

    If this is G+ Notification, and not email, it needs to be separated out.

    But guess what – if you go into G+ settings, it asks you if you want to EMAIL you the notifications.

    Emails are NOT supposed to change.  If you can change emails, then what's to stop them from changing other parts of your email?  "Oh, our new TOS allows us to change your other non-G+ notifications too, didn't you read it?  We sent you a G+ notification about it…"

  10. Craig Perko

    +Per Siden An archive is extremely important to me. I don't want my correspondences to vanish because a third party or the other side doesn't want me to remember it.

  11. Per Siden

    If you are on Google+ with a non-gmail account your emails will be kept un-updated.

    This is a nice feature by Google, but honestly, we need to move on from email somehow. Email is a "fire-and-forget" approach that is little better than fax. We have been using electronic mail since the 80's and it is just as useful now as it was back then – not better than ordinary snail-mail, just a tad faster. Invent!

  12. Dan Zerner

    I was shocked when I first discovered a post was deleted from my inbox.  There was some info in it that I thought I could refer to later but it was deleted.  Really difficult to grasp when we're so used to our Inbox being our personal safe-haven archive for so long.

  13. Ninja On Rye

    Actually I think it does say "has been deleted" now.
    Rings a bell for the one that I tried to find at the time, anyway.

  14. Benjamin So

    Thanks for the enlightenment, +Sophie Wrobel. I'd seen a few posts (one of which I remember being from +Tom Voute) raving about using Gmail to manage G+ notifications, but I didn't realise until now the distinction between these messages and regular e-mail. But you're right: this distinction does make sense and improves useability.

  15. Craig Perko

    I expect GMail to serve me emails. If Google is adding in a new "sort-of-email but under our continuous control" service, I want to be allowed to opt out and get those things as real emails.


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