I can no longer identify with this company and its business practices centered on pushing the social network to all its services. I foresee a moment when I can no longer avoid Google+. Just recently I had to delete a Google+ account because it is now required if I wish to post a video or even comment on YouTube. It should only be a matter of time until public pressure will be insufficient or just not interested anymore in stopping Google from intruding the social network into all its services.
I have a gmail account I'm about to close or just start ignoring. I've been a user since their beta days, when you could still create a 6 letter gmail account. I still have their welcome email from August, 2004.
I'm trying to look for an alternative. But it's becoming hard. This is not yet the moment a company/service emerges that challenges the increasingly bad business of the industry. Google did this much back in 1998 when it challenged the Portal culture. Apparently it's someone else turn to challenge the Social Network culture and provide clean and free web services.
I'll be happy to know of your suggestions in alternatives to gmail. Please keep in mind I don't use social networks of any kind (don't even ever created an account on places like facebook or twitter) and that email is my most important means of communication bar no one. I require a service I can trust and of high quality that thinks of emails simply and just as emails.
Note: Yes, the best service is my own email server. But, I can't afford to run one since I cannot guarantee uptime of any kind from my current location.