Random question, I log in with my Google account. Is there some sort of mechanism that will use my picture from Google (or Google +) as my account image on sp.se? I don't really want to create an account on a separate web site for the sole purpose of having a picture to assocaite with my account.
I don't really want to create an account on a separate web site for the sole purpose of having a picture to assocaite with my account.
Then don't. I rather like the image Gravatar generates for you based on a hash of your email address... Think of it as The PirateEric flag.
We use Gravatar because it works, it's (usually) fast, and it's orthogonal to whatever other services you might be using for authentication. Sure, you might find it convenient if we dragged your Google profile image onto the site - but plenty of others would find it a shocking breech of privacy... Same as if we exposed the name you use on Google, or your circles, or used the top post in your stream as your bio text.
Beyond that... Stack Exchange allows you to associate as many different credentials as you care to. If you want to have your Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and LiveJournal accounts all associated with your profile here, you're free to do so. If we started exposing personal information from them, which one "wins"? Does your Facebook picture trump your Google photo? Do we use the LJ picture of you with your family, or the AOL picture of you passed out drunk with "geeklord" scrawled with a Sharpie on your forehead?
These are decisions we don't have to make, and problems you don't have to worry about, all because we place the choice of user name and picture completely within your hands.