A recent story from Marketing Land reports Google has quietly abandoned the requirement for new Google account creators to also create Google+ accounts.
After 2.5 years of mandatory Google+ profile creation during the signup process for any new Google account, users are now being given a choice. Many people viewed the compulsory Google+ profile creation as a strong arm tactic. While users will still be given the option to sign up for a Google+ account when they create a new Google account, they can now elect to click on the new “No thanks” button to opt out of the process.
Some view this change as evidence Google may be preparing to kill their three-year-old social network. A more likely option is Google will continue to make subtle changes to the service, switching its focus to functionality rather than number of users. Google+ has many popular products such as Hangouts and an excellent photo product, which may be improved upon and made available to those without Google+ accounts.
Google no longer seems concerned with beefing up Google+ users, as it will clearly never be more popular than Facebook. However, Google has not lessened the impact of Google+ within its other services. If users want to upload videos to YouTube or leave app reviews, they may not want to ignore the social network after all.