Google+ accounts no longer needed to access Gmail

Google has lifted its requirement that anyone wanting a Gmail or Google Drive account must also sign up for Google+.

The company has kept the new rules pretty secret, but it was uncovered by Larry Kim from WordStream who wrote: "Google is no longer forcing new Gmail users to connect their account to a Google+ profile yet another move that could signal the end for Google's troubled social network."

The new process means where users were previously required to create a public profile that would link everything to a single Google+ account when logging in to any of Google's services, they can now click a 'No thanks' button to skip the step.

Google said in a statement: "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)."

Kim speculated it's another nail in Google +'s coffin following the departure of Vic Gundotra who previously led the search engine's social network.

The company also announced it was changing its requirements that previously said anyone signing up to Google+ must use their own name. This means users can set up a G+ account under the name of their favourite super hero, a film character or anything else of their choosing.

In April, Google replaced its developer login options to show generic Google rather than G+ for those who wish to allow users to automatically login using their Google account credentials.

Authorship has now been disregarded, meaning Google won't favour websites that use Google Authorship and link their writers up with the social network.

Google+ Photos have also moved from the social network into Google's umbrella services too, adding extra weight to industry rumours that Google+ may be shut down in the coming months.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.