Had enough of Google pushing its not-anywhere-near-as-good-as-Facebook social networking site on you yet, Internet users? Well get ready for some more of it. As the Google Operating System Blog reported late last week, signing up for an official Google account means that you not only have to get a Gmail address but a Google+ account as well:
Until now, creating a Google account was quite simple. You could either use an existing email address or create a Gmail
account. The redesigned form includes new fields: name, gender (required for
Google+) and mobile phone number (not required). [...]
"Your Google Account is more than just Search. Talk, chat, share, schedule, store, organize, collaborate, discover and creat
e. Use Google products from Gmail to Google+ to YouTube, view your search history, all with one username and password, all backed up all the time and easy to find at (you guessed it) Google.com," informs the page.
New users no longer have to manually create a profile and join Google+, while Google found another way to increase the number of Google+ users (currently at 90 million) and the number of Gmail users (currently at 350 million).
I'll confess that I do use Google+ but mostly because I cover Google for a living and it's always good to keep up with what's going on with the products you write about. But unlike the other Google products I use -- Android, Chrome, Gmail, Google Documents, Google Music, YouTube -- I don't particularly *like* Google+. It doesn't have nearly the same number of awesome games as Facebook has, its layout is fairly "meh" and my friends don't update it nearly as much to make it worth checking on a regular basis. In other words, it just doesn't have that same gotta-check-it-every-day magic that Facebook has worked hard to create over the past several years.
But that hasn't stopped Google from trying to push it on Internet users. Most controversially, Google is now integrating Google+ results into your regular search results by giving you a set of "personal results" of links and comments related to the topic that have been posted by your friends and acquaintences on Google+. Twitter, among others has come out and said that this is a prime example of Google using its own search engine power to bolster its own products over those of its competitors.
Google has also integrated Google+ more tightly into both Gmail and Android and has has created search functionality for its business pages that takes you right to companies’ Google+ pages if you do a search with the "+" symbol as the prefix and the company name you're looking for. And now we learn that signing up for a new Google account means that we automatically get our own Google+ page whether we want it or not.
In all it feels like Google is stopping at nothing when it comes to forcing Google+ in front of our eyes until we finalyl throw up our hands and say, "OK, OK, enough, I'll upload some pictures of my damn cat onto you, just leave me alone!" Remember all those wonderful free AOL CDs you used to get spammed with back in the late '90s? Yeah, it's kinda like that.
At any rate, I should stop writing this now because I don't want Google+ to boil a bunny rabbit and toss it in my bed while I'm asleep.