There’s a common (but mistaken) belief that Google+ is a social networking effort that has failed to gain the kind of popularity that competitor Facebook boasts. In reality, Google+ is a very successful strategy to tie together all Google services (from Gmail to Youtube to Google drive) — and in the process, draw users into an even deeper relationship with Google. Ultimately, the resulting social network will not only be about sharing cat videos, but will be a platform for collaboration of any kind (including one that’s much bigger than Facebook called “email”)–from serious business collaboration to sharing cat videos.

Here’s a simple example of such a feature integration (and a handy one, at that) that Goggle added to Gmail earlier this week. It uses the Goggle+ Photo album to power a new one-click Gmail feature. Users of the Google+ mobile app (on both Android and iOS) who have activated the photo auto-backup feature that saves photos from your mobile phone to your Google+ account*, will now see a new “camera icon” button when they are composing a message on Gmail. Clicking it will pull up the gallery of photos on Google+.

Here’s how it works. (But warning: If you use it, you’ll have to answer “yes,” next time someone asks you if you’re a user Google+.)

1. Look for and click on the camera icon button.



2. A gallery of your auto-saved photos will appear. After you select the photos you’d like to send, click the “insert” button on the bottom left of the screen.


*The default option of the photo autosave feature of Google+ keeps the backed-up photos private.