Google's social networking ambitions appear to be falling by the wayside. It has come to light that Google is no longer requiring people to have a Google+ account when signing up for a new Gmail account, a stipulation that's been in place since 2012.

Unlike some of its other announcements, Google didn't put out any sort of press release or blog post to announce the change so it's unclear when exactly the requirement was lifted.

WordStream reached out to the search giant for comment. The company did indeed confirm the changes via e-mail, only stating that they updated the signup experience in early September.

Google hasn't devoted much publicity to Google+ in quite some time, especially since senior vice president and head of Google+, Vic Gundotra, announced plans to part ways with the Mountain View-based company this past April.

The executive had been with Google for nearly eight years and was responsible for starting Google I/O. He also created Google+ from nothing according to Google co-founder Larry Page. He was replaced by VP of engineering David Besbris, another Google employee that has been working on Google+ since its inception.

While this could be interpreted as the biggest move yet in terms of Google distancing itself from the social network, there are plenty of reasons you may still want an account. For example, you'll still need a Google+ account if you want to comment on YouTube videos or publish reviews on Google's local business listings.