Google+ is no longer mandatory. Reports say that when now setting up a Google account, users no longer have to get a Google+ handle to be part of the search engine's social network.
Previously, users had to be present on Google+ since January 2012, according to Marketing Land. Now, however, users can opt out with a click of the "No thanks" button.
While some could see this as Google giving up on its social network, but it's likely that company finally realized it's unnecessary and didn't increase Google+ use. It can only do that by creating interesting products -- such as Hangouts -- to make people want to join. Google also stopped forcing Google+ to use real names, something that now has Facebook embroiled in controversy.
For most people, lessening rules online is likely a blessing. Those not interested in Google+ likely won't be if forced to create an identity to use a product.