Mountain View, California—Google Plus is no longer a requirement for all Gmail users, an apparent concession by the search giant that all its proprietary email users don’t want to have a social profile with the company.
The social site has in excess of 300 million active users worldwide, and the service integrates with many other user tools offered by the search engine. However, the number of “active” versus “registered” users remains unclear as the numbers are closely guarded.
Some insiders have expressed doubt as to the validity of the number of active users, claiming that registered account holders do not have to actually go onto the Google+ site to be counted, just click on the notifications icon at the top right.
Dear Gmail Users, Google Plus No Longer Required
For about two years, anyone who created a new Gmail account was mandated to also set-up a Google Plus account. Now, the search entity has ended that requirement and added a “No thanks” button, allowing new mail registrants to opt-out.
“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),” a Google spokesperson told the U.K. Daily Telegraph.
This move follows the April departure of Vic Gundotra, once the executive leading Google’s social network. Larry Page has insisted his company would continue in its development and investment of the social site. However, that is at-odds with unidentified sources at the company which explained to TechCrunch that Google+ is undergoing a substantial reorganization. Part of that endeavor is to re-classify the social network as a “platform” and not as a “product.” A large amount of staff changes are purportedly part of the reorganization.
Just a few months ago, in June, Authorship was scuttled, a program which actively linked authors to their work and placed their profiles within the SERP. The company stated the reason for retiring Authorship was to “clean up” the visual interface, while experts in the SEO field believe the reason to be a diversion from ad revenue.