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Google+ accounts no longer needed for new Gmail users

People signing up for Gmail can now say "no thanks" to Google's social network -- one of many moves the search giant has made in the past few months regarding Google+.

Now when signing up for Gmail, a user can hit the "no thanks" button to opt out of creating a Google+ account. Richard Nieva/CNET

People signing up for Google's Gmail service are no longer required to create an account for the search giant's social network as well.

Since 2012, part of the process of joining Gmail meant also signing up for Google+, but now, new users can opt out of the requirement by hitting a "no thanks" button.

"We updated the signup experience in early September," a Google spokesperson told CNET. "Users can now create a public profile during signup, or later, if and when they share public content for the first time (like a restaurant review, YouTube video or Google+ post)."

Google has made a number of moves around its products and their integration with Google+ in the past few months. The company has extended features beyond the walls of the social network. Hangouts, Google's videoconferencing service, in July was added to the company's suite of enterprise software. The company will also reportedly break out popular photo features of Google+ to become a standalone brand.

In June, the company removed Google+ profile photos and Google+ follower count numbers from search results for articles. Last month, the company did away with the authorship program altogether, no longer displaying the names of authors associated with presented articles.

The company said in October 2013 that Google+ has 300 million "in-stream" users -- or people who actively view the main news page or feed. Vic Gundotra, the social network's previous chief, left the company in April.

While the platform hasn't had the kind of traction to compete with Facebook, the world's largest social network with more than 1 billion users, the company has also recently made moves to try to bolster the product. Earlier this month, Google announced that it had acquired the startup Polar, which specializes in online polls for mobile devices, to join the Google+ team.

The blog WordStream first reported the story.