Google used to require its users to make a Google+ profile to be able to create a Gmail account. But now, Google is quietly allowing its users to opt out of Google+.
If you sign up for a new Gmail account today, you can say “No thanks” to Google+. However, opting out means you won’t have access to certain features. You can’t rate apps on the Google Play Store or comment on YouTube.
A Google spokesperson later confirmed the changes to WordStream blogger Larry Kim, stating: “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).”
Google has been easing up on its policies surrounding Google+ over the last several months. It all started in April, when Vic Gundotra, the man responsible for having built Google+, left the company after eight years.
In July, Google made Hangouts, its video-conference feature, more accessible by letting all Google Apps customers use it, regardless of whether they had a Google+ account.
In August, Business Insider’s Lisa Eadicicco reported that Google planned to separate its Photos service from Google+.
Allowing users to opt out of Google+ is the latest step in Google loosening its grasp on the social network. Previously, Google+ accounts had been mandatory for new users since January 2012.