Google appears to be testing a new "Sign in with Google" button to expand its sign-in options beyond Google+.
A small number of developers working with Google+ log-ins are now seeing a button with a white Google "g" logo and the phrase "sign in" or "sign in with Google," The Verge reported late Tuesday. So far, the option is only viewable through developer accounts, meaning the average user won't see it on any public websites.
A Google spokesperson downplayed the significance of this new button, telling CNET that it's simply part of a test that follows several sign-in improvements announced last December. The goal behind the improvements is to expand Google's social sign-in options to support all types of Google accounts. "We are always testing things," a spokeswoman told The Verge.
Speculation about a potential neutering of Google+ amped up following last Thursday's news that Vic Gundotra, head of the Google social network, would be leaving the company effective immediately. A subsequent TechCrunch story cited multiple sources who claimed that Google+ will move from a full product to a platform, meaning it would no longer directly compete with Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.
Google has denied rumors signaling any such changes to Google+. A Google representative told CNET last week that the news of Gundotra's exit "has no impact on our Google+ strategy -- we have an incredibly talented team that will continue to build great user experiences across Google+, Hangouts and Photos."