In the past you could sign up for a Gmail account and that would be it. If you wanted a YouTube or Picasa account you could connect your Gmail to it, but you had to sign up independently for it. The same for your G+ account when Google first launched the service: even though they were connected you had to ‘sign up’ first.
Now if you decide to get a Gmail account you won’t have to sign up separately for all the other services anymore. Your Google Account is now also your Google+ account, your YouTube account and other Google products.
If you now go to the Google sign up page you will see that Google has redesigned the page and that they focus on the entire Google experience: “Your Google Account is more than just Search.”
The exact text on the sign up page says that once you sign up you can 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.”
It is a nice feature by Google, because it will make things a lot easier for the users. And be honest: everything was connected anyway.
But there are three other sides to this story.
Number of users
First of all there is the number of Google+ users. Earlier this week Larry Page mentioned that Google+ had grown rapidly to 90 million users. Which still is less than Facebook, but they are growing rapidly.
This new way of signing up for Google will also ‘help’ push Google+ more. After all: every GMail user now is a Google+ user, whether they like it or not. Now there’s a way of pushing your product numbers…
At that brings us right to the third part of this story: what will the FTC think now that they are researching whether or not Google maybe pushing their own products a little bit too much, something which also was part of the discussion around the launch of “Google Plus Your World“.
And finally: the data. Google this way find out even more about us (a potential privacy issue). Not only do they have all accounts connected, they can easily figure out what we do on for example YouTube or our Android phones and deliver us personalized content based on that. A smart add on to the sign up form helps as well: you now have to give Google more information when you sign up like name, gender and mobile phone number, things which weren’t asked about before.
By the way, if you want to use the ‘old’ sign up way, you still can, if you know where to go…