Signing up for a new Google / Gmail account (comparison between webform and smartphone)

More or less just a reminder to myself what information is and what isn’t strictly required when signing up for a new Google Account, depending on whether it is done via web or an Android device.

Always required:

  • Firstname
  • Lastname
  • Username (email address)
  • Password

Mandatory for the webform:

  • Birthday
  • Gender
  • Location

Optional on the webform:

  • Recovery mail
  • Recovery phone

Conditional on the webform (spam protection):

  • Activation phone number

Android (checked on a nexus7 2012/Jelly Bean and a Samsung Galaxy S6/Lollipop):

  • Birthday is not asked at all. There isn’t a form/wire protocol for it in JellyBean.
  • Gender is only asked when additionally signing up for G+ to rate apps (apps can be downloaded without).
  • Location is not asked, but the phone knows where it is and will fill this info itself (from the language settings and, if available, the SIM)
  • Activation phone number is (ironically) not asked and there is no form for it either. Unlike the location, the device also doesn’t automatically submit data from the TelephonyManager (tablets and TV do not necessarily have the required hardware).
  • Android will either ask for a recovery mail or phone number, but that can be skipped. Skipping, however, means getting pestered for it when logging in via web.
  • Jelly Bean has support for a security question/answer. However, Google no longer offers that recovery option (why it was there in the first place is beyond me. It should be fairly obvious that you can’t allow people to reset their password by asking where they went to school and then offer them to put exactly that kind of information on their social profile!)
Posted in Note to self