Jan. 20, 2012 at 12:27 PM ET
I hope your torches and pitchforks aren't nearby, because Google — the Company That Claims It Does No Evil — is doing something that might make you want to reach for 'em. Apparently the search engine giant is now forcing new Google account users to join Google+ and Gmail.
Google Operating System, an unofficial blog about all things Google, first called attention to this somewhat annoying requirement for new Google accounts — which most certainly wasn't always in effect:
Until now, creating a Google account was quite simple. You could either use an existing email address or create a Gmail account.
The newly redesigned sign-up process for Google accounts now includes fields which ask for your name, gender (required, thanks to Google+) and mobile phone number (optional). Once you've got those fields filled out, you're led to a page which asks you to create your Google profile — better known as your Google+ account.
There is no option to skip this step and avoid the creation of a Google+ account (and a Gmail account), which is something you might want to do if you're interested in using only some other Google services.
The only choice you have if you want to avoid Google+ or Gmail, as Google Operating System points out, is to create a Google Account through the Google Calendar or Blogger pages — or by going to a URL which corresponds to the old sign-up form. Unfortunately there's no way of knowing just how long this workaround will continue to work.
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