You know how Google has been forcing Google+ down people's throats for the past several years? For the last couple, you've had to sign up for a Google+ account to sign up for a Google account (like a Gmail account) in general. Well, they're easing up on all of that a bit.
These days, you can sign up for Gmail without signing up for Google+. Go ahead. Try it. Larry Kim at WordStream shares this confirmation from Google:
"We updated the signup experience in early September. Users can now create a public profile during signup, or later, if and when they share public content for the first time (like a restaurant review, YouTube video or Google+ post)."
When Vic Gundotra announced his departure from Google, a lot of people speculated that it was the beginning of the end for Google's social network, though the company said that was not the case, and that the team would stay as is.
While this new revelation may not mean the death of Google+ either, it certainly does signal a shift in strategy on Google's part. It will be interesting to see if they revert to the non-Google+ YouTube comments, because out of all of the integrations Google has launched over the years, that's the one that really angered users the most.
Last week, some were noticing that Google appeared to have removed some Google+ elements from Knowledge Graph boxes in search results, but that turned out to just be a bug, which the company has already fixed.
Google+ lives on. It's just not a requirement.
Image via Google/Larry Kim