No forcing google+
I have a Gmail account, not that I use it a lot, but I don't have a Google+ account. i don't understand why people have a problem with this as Google is not forcing you to get a Google+ account, it is just if you do have one then it will be linked with Gmail and even then you can set it up so no one from google+ can send you a message via Gmail.
Now You Tube was a different matter as google did force people to have a Google+ page if they wanted to write comments and if you have a new channel, you got to have a google+ page, which you can lock down with no problem at all.
I did set up a page to have a look, but now got rid of it as I don't comment on videos.
if google force people with Gmail to have a google+ profile then that is another thing, but so far they are not, you can even delete the profile when you set up a Google account.