For two and a half years Google has required its users to sign up to the Google+ social network. Now it appears Google is easing up on this requirement and giving new users the choice to opt out of Google+ when signing up for Gmail or other Google services.
This was first reported on by Larry Kim at the Wordstream blog, who speculates that this may signal the end for Google’s social network that has had its share of troubles since launching. It was later confirmed by a Google spokesperson, who stated:
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).
As the screencap below shows, when a new user signs up for Gmail they can simply say “No thanks” to creating a Google+ profile:
Contrary to Kim’s speculation of this signalling the eventual end of Google+, this news can also be taken in a positive way because it is an intelligent move by Google. It shows that they’re owning up to some mistakes they made with Google+ and aren’t afraid to change their direction after listening to user feedback.
Another example of this is when Google reversed their incredibly unpopular decision to not allow anonymous YouTube comments.
Going forward I think we can expect more minor changes to Google+ as Google takes a less pushy approach to promoting its network.