Q: I have had a Gmail account for the past few years. Recently I was informed that effective in early April 2019 all personal Gmail accounts will be deleted. I would appreciate your recommendations for a replacement email provider.
A: I have been contacted a number of times on this issue and I am happy to say that your Gmail account is not going anywhere.
You, like many others, have misinterpreted a message from Google that has been sent out to let users know that their Google+ account is being deleted.
Google announced last year that it would be shutting down the service and the email you received is simply confirmation of that fact.
Google+ Is Not Required For GMail
The 2 & 1/2 years of compulsory signing in to Google+ for having a Gmail account is finally over. Google’s idea of promoting Google+ through mandatory Google+ and Gmail integration has been finally shelved. Now users can create a new Gmail account without signing in to Google+ or any other Google account. However, users can always opt for creating a Google+ account along with a new Gmail ID, but they are not anymore forced to do so; and finally, the final call can be made by the users.
Google+, the social networking site of Google managed to enjoy a huge user base within a very short period. It reached the mark of 90 million Google+ accounts within just a few months of its launch; however, achieving that mark so quickly was not actually the result of a huge popularity of the platform amongst the users. Rather, Google was able to enlist such huge number of profiles, by combining accounts established within other google services with Google+.
This was in place right from 2012, and while opening a Gmail account a user was directly led to the Google+ page for uploading his/her photograph, and in fact, users had no actual way to bypass it, unless they closed the page, and re-logged to their Gmail account later from a fresh browser page.
However, this indirect forcing, though was benefiting Google by increasing the number of users in their freshly launched social networking platform, but was not really generating a good response or much activity from the users who opened a Google+ account.
Google had to face the wrath of users when they had tried to make a Google+ profile compulsory for signing in to YouTube, and finally they had to reverse the decision. Quite the same thing happened with making Google+ account compulsory for having a Gmail account, and at last, Google is ready to accept the choice of the users as final, and the users are no longer forced or tricked to sign-up for Google+ while opening a new Gmail account, if they do not want to do so.
However, this step from Google is being viewed as clear evidence that Google is de-emphasizing its 3 year old social network, and they might be actually thinking about killing it with time. According to a more positive view, Google has always experimented and fine-tuned their products and services as per the user response, and this is nothing other than a positive step taken by the web giant for offering better and more customer oriented services.
Now users can easily sign up for a Gmail account by directly going to the gmail.com home page; where after filling up the details, in the final step before entering the mailbox, the users will be asked if he/she would like to create a Google+ profile as well. If they don’t, a clear option of “No thanks” is present just beside it to make the choice. So, if you want to open a new Gmail account, but are not really willing to be on Google+ you can easily have your call.
*Featured Image – Credit Zoltan Moos | Dreamstime.com