Looks like Google might be quietly sweeping Google+ under the rug. As WordStream reports, the company has removed the requirement that new Gmail subscribers tie their accounts to a Google+ profile.
The change in policy occurred with no fanfare—and no announcement on Google's blog. WordStream only received confirmation from Google after e-mailing the company. The response reads:
We updated the signup experience in early September. 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).
This change comes less than five months after the departure of Vic Gundotra, whom TechCrunch described as the "father" of Google+. Gundotra announced his resignation as Google's VP of Social on April 24. (Thanks to Lifehacker for the link.)