Google's apologies are worthless.
Their goal is to compete with Facebook. The only way to do that is through swift, widespread adoption of their service. And the best way to do that is to inflict it unilaterally on all of the gmail users, most of whom will go along with anything Googlie.
The understandable, and completely predictable outrage from a vocal minority is nothing compared to the scheme's successful, overnight market penetration.
Success no longer comes from pleasing the users; it comes from aggressive marketing.