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Summary:

Google officially supports multiple sign-in on most of its products, but it’s not consistent across services. A new feature in the Chrome OS Developer channel aims to fix that. Here’s what it looks like and how to get it.

chromebook with kids
photo: Google

Got multiple people using your Chromebook, the way I do? Each member of my family has a profile on mine so that everyone can have their own custom experience that synchronizes data with their own Google account. The bad news is that Chrome OS doesn’t support fast user switching, so for my kids to use my Chromebook, they have to first sign me out and then sign in as themselves. That may soon be changing.

chrome os user profiles

On Monday, Google’s François Beaufort showed a new experimental feature available now in the Chrome OS Developer channel that supports multiple users signed in simultaneously. To use the feature, you’ll have to first enable the chrome://flags/#enable-multi-profiles flag by typing it in your Chrome address bag, toggling the feature and restarting. After that, you can sign in with two or more Google accounts.

Here’s what the feature currently looks like in practice:

It looks simple to switch between users, either by tapping profile photos or by using keyboard combo shortcuts of (ctrl + alt + .) or (ctrl + alt + ,) to cycle through accounts. Beaufort notes that Chrome OS windows can move between profiles as well.

This will help in situations with multiple family members sharing a Chromebook or Chromebox, but I also expect to use it for my work and personal Google accounts. Those are separate accounts with different settings and synchronized data, but I need access to both during the day while still keeping them somewhat separate. Currently, I use the official Google multiple sign-in solution in one browser but it’s not the best solution nor is it consistent with all of Google’s products.

With the feature now in the Developer channel, it should progress to the Beta and then Stable channel over time as it gets tested and modified as needed.

  1. in order to make it complete for my family use (3 elementary school kids), need to add some administration user rights capabilities…
    right now it is very clunky, wish they fixed that, it would make it great family OS/ secondary computer for kids

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  2. Nick Iacullo Monday, March 3, 2014

    Clearly this is actually for people with more than one account, not for more than one person.

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  3. Thanks for the tip on multi-user access. this works fine on the Chromebook, but does not yet appear to work on the ASUS chromebox.

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    1. Ignore my comment, multipe-login on the Chromebox now works, took a system update and a restart!

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