Does the Shelving of Mandatory Gmail Integration in Google+ Mean the End is Near?

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google plus ending

Google has gone to valiant lengths to convince us that rumors of Google+’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, but 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.

Rumors of the decoupling of Google+ and Gmail first surfaced in the spring. Google, unsurprisingly, hasn’t exactly gone out of its way to shout about the change from the rooftops, instead choosing to quietly shelve the mandatory integration which had previously been in place since 2012.

Although the change means that new Gmail users will no longer be forced to sign up for Google+, they’ll still have the option to do so, as you can see in the image below.

google plus ending

Gundotra’s sudden departure from Mountain View sparked rumors and intense speculation about the future (and imminent demise) of Google’s social network, which execs at Google were quick to deny. However, the decision to backpedal on a key component of Google’s growth strategy for Google+ suggests, at best, that they’ve figured out users wanted to make that decision for themselves.

At worst, it’s another sign that Google+ as we know it is on the chopping block.

Of course, the mandatory Google+ Gmail integration wasn’t the first time that Google incurred the wrath of users. There was the time Google killed its RSS reader, which had a small but fiercely loyal fanbase. And when Google announced that YouTube users would need a Google+ profile to access the platform, the site’s considerable user base was outraged.

To add insult to injury, it later came to light that the forced integration of Google+ and YouTube actually resulted in significantly more spam comments, trolling, and some imaginative uses of ASCII art. Perhaps having learned a valuable lesson in keeping the peace, Google may be taking steps to make its Google+ integration less Draconian.

What do you think of Google’s decision?

UPDATE: An official Google spokesperson has confirmed the changes via email, 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 Plus Photo via Shutterstock

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Larry Kim Larry Kim founded WordStream in 2007. He serves as company CTO and is the author of 4 Award-Winning Books on Software Development. Larry also blogs at the WordStream Blog and practices photography in his spare time.

13 Reactions
  1. Google tried really hard, but Facebook already had the market cornered and was too big for Google to push out of the space (sorry Friendster).

  2. Great Read!!! Google + integration has posed many challenges for the search engine giant. However, getting rid of Google + will only leave a gaping hole in all of the valuable data collected by G+ and leave it to a new start-up to fill the void. [edited]

  3. I have to agree with Robert here. I only have a google+ page because I opened a g-mail account, but I rarely use it. I thought it would open up a more business function that Facebook does, but I use Linkedin so don’t really need it. Would be sad to see it go completely though because I know of others who use it regularly, I think you just have to be in the correct niche.

  4. Google plus could work if they actually made it really user friendly…as of now it is awful.

    • I couldn’t agree more. When I first started using it I thought is was nifty albeit pretty useless as a social network. As soon as I started managing social media for companies and having multiple pages; I have come to loathe its existence. Now that Google has also changed its algorithm, when you type in our business name. . .yes the complete name of the business is on the second page now and our google plus profile is on the first page.

  5. I was there by invite-only in July 2011, and I immediately took it to be a Facebook clone. I don’t need a Facebook clone because I already have Facebook. I gave feedback, and was booed out of the forums because I dared question the almighty Google.

    Then I was forced back because of the YouTube ‘integration’ and I was livid. I went from being disappointed and utterly disinterested to actively wanting it dead. The day they admit defeat and shut it down, (and it is coming…) I will buy some champagne and toast the event.

    Google is run by coders. They don’t know interfaces, Google needs to focus on providing services to social networks, not become one. That’s where it went wrong.

  6. I definitely want google+ to stay on, especially since facebook’s sense of privacy has stirred nothing but trouble, google+ does not tap into my private text messages as facebook was notorious for doing, that’s exactly why I shut down my facebook account, here I can exghange photos either publicly or privately. Please, keep google+ on, thanks.

  7. Google can keep their G+ but they need to make YouTube a separate community again. I already had plenty of sharing my interests and socializing on YouTube through commenting on videos, and it was perfect the way it was before the mandatory G+ upgrade. I never wanted to use G+.

    • Yes, I was extremelly unhappy with the Youtube integration. I use my Youtube to promote my music project. Google kept wanting it to be my personal page. It asked me every time I visited Youtube and was infurriating. I’m glas it finally stopped asking.

    • I am also not interested with Google+. I am a non-Google+ user but I’m not one of the naysayers. What also happened on YouTube is that the Inbox is gone and it has been replaced with a new Messages section, which also requires Google+ like the new comment system. I just hope YouTube goes back to what it was before the integration.

  8. I can’t help but observe the naysayers are admitted non-users of Google Plus. Hmm.. interesting how non-participants feel free to pass judgement on a platform of which they have no knowledge or experience. For those of us who are active on G+, we are actually thrilled how the majority of active G+ users are leaders, not unconscious followers. The capabilities of G+ use for enhancing SEO vs any other social media platform will soon overshadow the monetization superficiality of others. Google craves content and will continue to outpurpose the others in search of it. Siri has already bowed to the data gathering capabilities of Google in empowering Google Voice tools. YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. How can you discount Google’s integration and therefore SEO power in favor of struggling, and therefore scrambling, monetizing based social platforms? Google is genius in recognizing data (via content encouragement) as the key to profit. Producing a data excellent platform which can provide exacting target information for the cleanest and most powerful marketing is far more likely to garner success for those using Google ads, etc., than by tactics like Facebook’s control and monitoring of content for superficial profit results. Grow up, folks.

  9. Guys, its still seems to be up and running? Has the author done anymore work on this story?