Sorry if this is confusing.

I received notification in my Gmail saying someone added me to their circle and invited me to join Google+. I'm assuming Google+ allows users to find people by name or email address. That person doesn't have my email address, so I guess that leaves my name.

I'm not on Google+, so I don't know why I'd be searchable. I want to make sure strangers can't just type in my name in Google+ and actually be SHOWN my Gmail address or otherwise have me come up at all regardless of what it shows them. Is that possible?

  • Hey everyone, thanks for the responses! If it has to be from their contacts, is it possible for Google+ to notify you if someone adds ANOTHER email address you have that's been tied to your Gmail before? The person who added me has my non-Gmail email address which I've tied to my Gmail as an alternative. Jul 18, 2015 at 23:35
  • By "tied" do you mean your alternative email is forwarded to Gmail? That would be one way for an invitation to arrive to your Gmail.
    – user79865
    Jul 18, 2015 at 23:40
  • No, it isn't forwarded. It's just the alternate email I added to my Gmail account for password reset. Jul 19, 2015 at 3:55

3 Answers 3


As you suggest in your comments, they can find you with your alternate mail—the mail you add in case you lose your password / other security reasons.

If your contact has a Google profile associated with any email address, including an alternate email address, or profile link you’ve stored in that contact’s entry, you'll see information from their profile beneath the information you've entered. Only information the contact has made public, or has allowed you to see, will be visible to you.


The same goes for Google Drive. I usually share files with Hotmail addresses and they are automatically changed to the associated Gmail account.

P.S.: I think that Google automatically creates a Google+ account for you. Even if you don't want it to. Anyway, review your privacy settings on Google+.

  • Thanks! I was so confused because the invitation said they invited me by my Gmail and I thought how could they invite me via an email they don't even know? It makes sense then if Google changed the alternate to the primary Gmail address automatically. Jul 19, 2015 at 4:00

If you have not yet joined Google+ then you are not in Google+ Search. Google+ does not show a user's email address to anyone unless the user explicitly made the email visible. Basically the user who invited you will almost certainly have to have already had your email address.

  • Would I be in Google+ search if I had an account before? When it first came out, I was signed up for the beta test. I deleted the account after and haven't joined again since, but could there be something leftover? Jul 18, 2015 at 23:37
  • A user could stay in Google+ search for a short period after deleting their account but anyone getting the profile as a result would just get a 404 not found error when trying to view it. That could happen up to a day or two before the profile would no longer even show up in search results.
    – abraham
    Jul 19, 2015 at 4:30

The source of these invitations is the contacts list of the person who invited you. The invitation process is described here. I don't think you would get an email if the contact list of that person didn't contain your email address. (Otherwise, how would G+ know which John Smith is invited to join the circle?).

The only explanation I can give is that the person inviting you got your email from someone.

  • Unfortunately, there's no way this person can have my Gmail or have gotten it from anyone else. It's a business contact I just met, so they don't know anyone I know and my Gmail is a private one I don't use for socializing with anyone. Can an alternate email on the account trigger a notification? Jul 18, 2015 at 23:38

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