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This is a very basic feature of any social networking site, but still I am not able to find it on Google+.

I have tried messaging many Google+ users who are in my circle and also have me in their circle, but didn't find any link/button even remotely saying "Message".

Can someone help me out here?

P.S: Sending e-mail through gmail is not a substitute to sending private message in Google+

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Private messaging in Google+ is handled the same as all other messages are - it is intentionally very consistent.

To send a private message, use the "Share what's new" box to write the message. In the "Add more people" section, remove any other people or circles (including "Public") and start entering the name of the person you want to message. You should be able to auto-complete them. You can also plus-mention them in the message, and this will do the same thing.

You can then "Send" as normal. The message will appear in their stream and they will get a notification if they have that configured.

Additionally, if you look on a person's profile, there may be a small envelope icon directly to the left of their profile photo, above the banner image. This will do the same thing. Not everyone has this enabled, however. To enable it, edit your profile and select "Change contact settings", and make sure that "Allow people to send you a message from a link on your profile" is checked (and either public or visible to the circles you want to use it).

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and this, "Allow people to send you a message from a link on your profile" acts like an e-mail or what? – user221287 May 30 '12 at 18:39
It works the exact way as the message that Bibhas and I outlined. It is just a shortcut to opening a share window and adding the person's name to the "who to share with" field. (No, I have no idea why this isn't on by default since anyone can send you a message this way by specifying your name.) – Prisoner May 30 '12 at 18:47
That's a UX feature. If the feature is turned on by default, more unknown people will send you messages like that, compared to the method of typing your name and all. – Bibhas May 30 '12 at 19:09
Contrairwise, fewer of your friends (those who don't know about sending a message directly to you by typing your name, as the questioner didn't) will be able to send a message to you. I understand the reasoning, but removing it doesn't prevent people from spamming you. – Prisoner May 30 '12 at 19:33
Doesn't prevent, but decrease. They don't prevent, just discourage. – Bibhas May 31 '12 at 7:23

Google+ doesn't have the conventional Private Message system like other social networks. Here, the privacy settings is what defines a public status or a private message. A PM is a message that only you and the person you're sending to can see and react to. In that sense, this is what you call a Private Message in Google+ -

enter image description here

As you see, this is a private message from me to Matt Cutts. No one else can read or react to this except two of us. The user(in this case Matt) might or might not receive a notification for this message, depending on this setting -

enter image description here

With the default settings of Google+, the person you're tagging will receive a notification.

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I cannot believe this. Will "Matt" Get any kind of notification for this message? Is it possible that Matt logs into Google+ but this message never happens to cross his eyes? – user221287 May 30 '12 at 18:34
He will get notification if he has it set up like that. i.imgur.com/hjYyy.png . It's just like when someone tags you in any other google+ wall post. – Bibhas May 30 '12 at 18:35
Then it makes some sense (because in facebook no one gets notified is someone posts any content in this exact way - anyhow let me test this. – user221287 May 30 '12 at 18:38

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