Google has redesigned its account sign-up page, now requiring new users to create a Gmail address and to join its Google+ social network. Previously, if you simply wanted to use Google Docs or Google Calendar you could sign up for a Google Account without having to add any additional services, but now the company has made Gmail and Google+ the two main entry points into the Google network.
Now when you sign up for a new Google Account, you are asked to fill out more information than before. Instead of being able to use any email address, you will have to create a Gmail address and you'll be asked to provide your birth date, gender, country, and optional mobile phone number. This information is then used to create your Google Profile, which automatically enrolls you in Google+.
For those who do want to sign up for all the services, the new registration process makes it more convenient to get everything setup altogether. However, it also seems to be a good way for Google to pad its Google+ user numbers, which was recently reported as having surpassed 90 million users.