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A Google Account is a user account that provides access to Google-owned services such as Blogger, YouTube, and Google Groups. A Google Account sign up automatically creates a Gmail email account where as before Google Accounts could be email addresses other than Gmail. An account can be created by signing up for an email address with Gmail, but there are other ways. Accounts in EU countries used to employ the 'googlemail.com' domain because Google did not own the trademark. Google recently resolved the domain dispute, and now all users login with the Gmail domain, or by using an existing address from another provider.
After a Google Account is created, users can add other Google applications. Account settings are stored in one place, but many applications may store their own settings. Applications that may be accessed using a Google Account include:
YouTube and Blogger maintain their own accounts for users that registered with the services before Google bought them. However, effective April 2011 YouTube users are now required to link to a separate Google Account if they wish to continue to log into that service.
Users with a Google account can create a publicly accessible Google profile, which they can use to control how they are presented on Google products to other Google users. A Google profile can be linked to a user's profiles on various social-networking and image-hosting sites, as well as user blogs.
Google may block an account for various reasons, such as "unusual activity" or entering an age "not old enough" to own a Google account. Reactivation is possible using web-forms, providing proof of identity through valid photo ID, or a small credit card payment (at a cost of 0.30 USD). Other methods (such as sending a fax or uploading some requested document) require human interaction and may take some "days or a couple of weeks" to be accomplished.
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