As Google continues it's "one nation under Google+" push, they've recently introduced some Gmail updates that, among other improvements, increases Google+ circle integration. Whatever your position on Google+, you have to admit the integration is seamless and almost unnoticeable. In fact, if you're actively ignoring Google+ circles, chances are you won't notice the additional integration.
If you're curious about it, however, it's easy to activate. If, in Gmail, you select a circle, the profile pictures of people you've assigned to the selected circle will appear at the top right of window. The Gmail blog has a screenshot of the activated circle:
While this may seem cosmetic, it's not the only Google+ improvement that's been incorporated into Gmail. The post explains further:
Circles are also now supported in search and filters. Find messages from a specific circle by typing circle:[circle name] in the search box. You can also find mail from any of your circled contacts by searching with has:circle. You can refine your search even further with other criteria and create filters based on circles. This means you can now view all the unread emails from your ‘Friends’ circle or automatically star every message that comes from your ‘VIP’ circle.
Aside from Google+ integration improvements, Gmail users now have more capabilities whenever they search for a contact, especially if said contact is a member of Google+. Once a contact search is conducted, aside from the contact's details, the results now feature the contact's profile picture, as well as the emails sent back and forth. The post provides another screenshot demonstrating these additions:
Are these improvements important to you as a Gmail user or will the integrations be overlooked by anyone except active Google+ users?