How Google+ Makes You an Email Ninja

Little-known features in Google’s social network give you mysterious powers of stealthy communication.
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Email is great for conversations. But not all conversations are great for email.

When you correspond with someone via email, you lose control. For example, if you’d like to delete the conversation later, you can’t.

Sure, you can delete your own copy, but everyone copied on the email conversation retains control of the whole thing. They can also forward it to other people, who can themselves forward it.

It’s worse if the email system is owned by your company, because they can keep a record of the email conversation for years and access it anytime they want.

Don’t get me wrong: For most conversations, email is fine and even preferable.

But when you want total control even after the email is sent -- including the ability to edit your original message, prevent recipients from forwarding it and even delete the entire conversation -- Google+ gives you that power.

How to Send Ninja Mail From Google+

You can send email directly from Google+ or from just about any Google site, even if the recipients don’t have Google+ accounts.

When you visit Gmail with a browser -- or, for that matter, Google Search, Google Image Search, Google News, Google Maps, Google Calendar and many other Google sites -- you’ll see a + Share box in the upper right corner. By clicking on it, you can post to Google+ or send an email from Google+.

You can also send email directly from Google+ in the same way you share a post.

To address the email, you do what Google calls a “mention.” In the body of the share box, type the plus sign, followed by the email address of the recipient. You can add as many people as you want.

Recipients who are Google+ members will be displayed with their name. Those who do not have Google+ accounts associated with the address you entered will be displayed with their email address.

You’ll notice that the same addressing information is added below the share box. Make sure only those you wish to address are in the box, and make sure “Public” or “Extended circles” are not in the box.

Type a short “Subject” or “headline” that doesn’t divulge any private information, then click Send.

After it’s sent, click on the drop-down menu in the right corner of the post box on Google+ and click “Lock this post.”

Then click “Edit this post.” Now you can type the complete secure message -- anything at all. When you’re done typing your secret message, click the Save button to update the post.

You will retain total control over the life of this message. Why? Because you’re the sender, and you did it Ninja style.

What Happens After You Send Ninja Mail

Different recipients may get different messages, depending on the email client they use. The best client to receive Ninja Mail is Gmail because of its deep integration with Google+. Gmail recipients will simply receive the complete message right there in their Gmail inboxes. It will look like email to them, but with Google+ functionality.

For example, they will be able to “comment” below your message, and you will see their comment instantly on the original post. You can comment, and they will see your comment instantly in Gmail.

Here’s where it gets crazy. You can edit your original message, and the contents of what appears to be email will actually change. That’s right: You can use your Ninja powers to reach into their e-mail inbox and change or delete your message, even after they’ve opened and read it!

The good news is that most Google+ users have Gmail accounts. Gmail in a browser is really the best email client for Ninja Mail conversations.

Other email clients will get a different message. For example, most will receive your original “subject” or “headline” with a link to the post on Google+. This will not change after you edit the post. When they click on the link, they will be able to read your post, but not comment unless they log in.

Your Ninja Mail Powers

Ninja Mail on Google+ is powerful in specific ways.

For starters, the commenting system is better for conversations than a back and forth email volley. It’s cleaner, without all the addressing junk.

You can embed YouTube videos, Vimeo videos or pictures into the post.

Google+ also has built-in polling or voting. Just add each voting option as its own comment, and other conversation participants can Plus-1 to vote.

There’s also a Hangout button. By pressing it, you can invite others into a live, face-to-face video chat with up to ten people at once.

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Tags: email, google+

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