Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has changed the way users can create accounts on Google to push people toward the company's email and social services.
As discovered by Google Operating System, when users create Google accounts from the search engine company's homepage, they are forced to create a Google profile and a Gmail account and are automatically signed into Google+.
Before the change, users would create Google accounts via existing email addresses or by signing up for a Gmail account. Moreover, users had to manually create a Google+ account independent of the other services, though they could still use their Google account credential to do so.
Now Google requires the kind of user identity information Facebook asks for, including name and gender, birthday and mobile phone numbers (this is optional info).
Of course, the company didn't just do this without explanation, as Google wrote on the sign-up page:
""Your Google Account is more than just Search. Talk, chat, share, schedule, store, organize, collaborate, discover and create. 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.""
The homepage then emphasizes Google account users can search by voice, take photos and enjoy turn-by-turn navigation sessions from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Finally, this new homepage touts the information users can engage in by using Google+, which Google CEO Larry Page reported Jan. 19 has 90 million-plus registered users, many of whom use Google's other Web services daily and weekly.
The move is an aggressive effort to ensure Google closes the loop on assigning its identity services to new users, which is in turn intended to boost registered Google+ account numbers at a time when the company is trying to challenge Facebook with its young social network.
When eWEEK asked whether or not the move was a bid to simply boost Google+ account numbers, a Google spokesperson responded:
""We're working to develop a consistent sign-up flow across our different products as part of our efforts to create an intuitive, beautifully simple, Google-wide user experience. Making it quick and easy to create a Google Account and a Google profile enables new users to take advantage of everything Google can offer.""
Google Operating System noted users may still delete their Google profile, Google+ content and Gmail account.