Open Thread – Managing Multiple Google Accounts

36 Comments

Google AccountsMany of us here at WebWorkerDaily seem to have a love-hate relationship with Google (s GOOG) and its products. While we love the conveniences and features that allow us to be so productive, we also lament lost opportunities and frustrating limitations.

For example, while Judi laments on the languishing Grand Central, I am sharing some of My New Favorite Gmail Features.

My current frustration is trying to manage multiple Google accounts and resources. I maintain a personal Gmail account along with a few domain accounts and I am finding it increasingly difficult and frustrating to manage them all.

I’ve found that I can consolidate all the email into a single inbox, which is nice, but there are tradeoffs. Event invitations I receive to my business email still show up on my personal calendar, documents aren’t universally available across accounts, and I would love to have the ability to be logged in to multiple gtalk accounts simultaneously.

I’d really like to take full advantage of the services offered by all of my Google and Google Domain accounts more seamlessly. I can already create a Google Profile, what would be outstanding is if I could link all of my Google accounts to it and get to everything in one place.

Am I missing something obvious?  I can’t be the only one struggling with this!

How do you manage your multiple Google accounts? Share your tips in the comments.

36 Comments

e

I found this post searching for a solution to manage several accounts. Now that you tube and google accounts are merged I even have more to manage. Its clumsy and I have to keep logging in and out. I think google should come up a solution for this.

Brian Mathers

Everybody and every forum I have looked into when searching on the query ‘how to manage a Google Account’ I find that many don’t understand why Google made it possible for each individual to have their OWN account. One group that have got it completely wrong are web developers. They think that by having a Google Account will help them manage all their client sites. Wrong!. The best practice approach for having a Google Account is 1) An individual creates an account so they can make use of the ‘personal products’ that an individual wants to use such as GMAIL, Calender, Google Docs etc. 2) A business creates a Google Account in order to access products such as Adwords, Analytics, Google Places (formerly local business centre) Google Webmaster Tools. This is so that a business who has its own website or websites has FULL editorial control over their Google Account. In order that they can ASSIGN an outsider such as you and I who in the businesses opinion might need ACCESS but not necessarily with ADMIN rights.
So returning to my point about web developers, you manage them, they don’t manage you. If you feel your web developer needs access to YOUR ACCOUNT, then you give them the level of access you think they should have.

One thing that really annoys me is that Web Developers decide to manage all their client websites from THEIR account thus abusing the MCC feature. So they keep generating new analytics code for example when it comes time for them to release the next website they have just built. So when the client comes to view the source code of their new website they see the UA tracking number might end in -23. Now the client knows he does not own 23 websites. So his/hers Google Analytics code does not belong to that person, but to the web developer. Which means, when you want to quickly change a profile in Analytics or get down to editing some of the more advanced features in this product, the answer from the web developer is – I can’t allow that. Why because he has 22 other clients sharing HIS generated Google Analytics Code.

The moral of the story is ONE ACCOUNT to ONE INDIVIDUAL or ONE BUSINESS. Then YOU the GOOGLE ACCOUNT OWNER decides who gets what access. And also if you own a number of websites that you need to track, then its you that generates the code and requests the web developer paste it into your website. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND. Be in control of your account, be in control of your website – simple!

Bleak

You missed the point completely mate.

Still, Thank you for attempting to dictate YOUR business practice upon all and Sundry.

Ed

I use Fluid to create separate SSBs (Site Specific Browsers) for each of my Google Apps domains. They act like stand alone applications. Works just like I was launching another App. And they all get along when running concurrently. And I still have Safari in the background for normal surfing.

gil

I agree (and wish to follow this thread till someone solves this). The multiple account and Multiple Inboxes labs gadget isn’t a great solution — it mixes all my emails, and the “from” address keeps mixing my business and personal emails, etc etc. I’m going to suggest this at Google (http://mail.google.com/support/bin/static.py?page=suggestions.cs), I would hope everyone on this thread would do the same.

Peter

Hellooo?

We called them “clients”, they have names like “Outlook express” or “Thunderbird”, they are specialized in mail and they are VERY helpful in juggling with 3,4 or five mailaccounts. No Gtalk and Calendar, though, I admit.

OK, that was back in my time… ;-)

Brent

With 2 apps accounts and one Gaccount, I had similar issues as everyone here. But with calendaring, I’ve gone to using separate calendars through my Gaccount, sharing to my GAPPS accounts and syncing my BBerry to one primary Apps account. As far as mail, I use my BBerry most of the time so it’s not an issue pulling mail from all three, however, I’ve also set up POP access to pull into one GAPPS account. It all seems to work very well…I’m not having issues with the GAPPS installation such that I can open two separate Chrome windows that are dedicated email windows.

Tom

I just tested the multiple accounts for my inbox and did a quick screencast for those interested. It’s an easy solution for now.

http://screenr.com/YNN

Wish that they had a dashboard kind of like blogger with the multiple blog posts.

junz

hey some one wanted to use multiple gtalk instances,
it is a very very easy thing to do.
1) firstly u need a shortcut of gtalk on ur desktop.
2) right click and go to “properties”
3) the target should read something like this – “C:\Users\jrmerchant\AppData\Roaming\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe” /desktop

4) change the ‘desktop’ to ‘nomutex’ so that it reads like this – “C:\Users\jrmerchant\AppData\Roaming\Google\Google Talk\googletalk.exe” /nomutex

5) hit apply and ok

6) dbl click the shortcut icon as many times as u would like the versions of gtalk to pop up. i.e./- dbl click 3 times for 3 gtalk instances to pop up.

note: you will be signed into all of them if u have the keep me signed in box ticket. not to worry u can signout of one and it will not sign u off gtalk completely.
simply drag them apart sign out of one gtalk window and sign in with the desired id.

there .. sorted.

if u do want to tahnk me, drop me an email. junz@junz.co.uk.

cheers.

more google tips on email.
junz

Jon

I normally use Google Chrome’s Incognito mode to access a second Google account at the same time. (article)

I also use the multiple-browser approach. Chrome for my personal account, IE for my work one, and Flock for SEO work.

One neat trick is to use multiple copies of Portable Firefox. You have to do a little tweaking to let you run two at once, but it can be done. I’d apply different GUI themes to make it easier to tell them apart.

Ivan V.

Idea: Use Google’s recently added Labs feature that allows you to have multiple inboxes.

Have Gmail pull from all your accounts, and then filter them so they show up in their own pane in your inbox.

Sucks on a small laptop screen but could work very well on a widescreen 20″+ monitor.

Scott Blitstein

Thanks for the tips and workarounds. It sounds like it is a common issue and while some are learning to deal with it, a better solution is certainly necessary.

SB

Geert

Yep, same problem. I have an account with Google Apps and a regular Google account. I use the Apps account for my email, and the regular Google account for all other services. I tried adding my Apps account’s email address as my standard email adres in the regular account (I deleted my Gmail email address), but then the calendar was broken (even though I’m not using it with the Apps). It doesn’t make sense really. I think merging accounts (or linking accounts some way) might be a priority for Google.

John

I use Firefox extension Gmail manager 0.5.5

It check’s the 6 Gmail accounts I use/share. Notifies you when you get mails. Signs you in when you select which account you are looking at, so your doc’s, bookmarks and other stuff are kept separate.

Brad

One idea for windows users is to create alternate windows user accounts. Might be a hassle to set up initially, but then switching between users would be super easy.

Simon Leyland

I have the same issue as well. Google need to create a solution for the individual.

Following a similar theme it would be great to allow Google App companies to collaborate with each other (share friends lists, contacts, gtalk etc). It would replicate and extend the popular MS OCS federation capability.

Judi Sohn

Ironically, while Scott was posting this I was Twittering out my frustration on this very subject. “Google Accounts Hell” I called it.

I have:

– 3 different Google Apps accounts that I check constantly – 2 jobs, plus personal.

– An @gmail.com account that I’ve had forever and is “neutral” so that’s the one I use for Google Reader and calendar (sharing the calendars from the 3 apps accounts to it so I have one calendar view for everything). I also use this one for Analytics, AdSense, AdWords and my personal FeedBurner feeds.

– An account tied to a corporate email address on one work domain for Google Groups and work-related Feedburner.

– An account tied to my WWD address for Groups.

What’s ridiculous and maddening is that if I’m in the middle of reading feeds, and I have to log into one of the other accounts for Groups or Feedburner, I have to bounce in and out of logins.

For email/calendar/docs, Google has no trouble letting you stay logged into multiple accounts at the same time in the same browser. It’s only for the non-apps applications that it’s a hassle.

datarat

For multiple gtalk accounts, I’ve been using Meebo. Using Google Chrome I created a shortcut appwindow for Meebo.Com and I can log in to all of the accounts at once.

Adam

I’m with Jake on the multiple browsers. Firefox for work gmail (handy because I can use Aardvark to trim fat out of email) and Chrome for all my personal stuff.

Jake

I use multiple browsers, I know that isn’t ideal, but I have to have them for Web Dev testing anyway.

Firefox – my account
Safari – my employers account
Chrome – everything else, just log in and log out

Bär

two accounts – two browsers – safari and firefox – not the best idea but it works for me.

Stan G

I had the same problem and have recently started pointing all my mail to otherinbox.com . I found that as I needed an address or find a new way of organizing my emails/domains I can just create the associated account on the fly (example: this comment is set to go to webworkerdaily@(username)dot otherinbox.com) that way you can not only track the email addresses to a site, you can also track sites that may be giving out your email address to external marketers. I’ve found it an indispensable tool for managing all of my email.

John Mayson

I am asking the same questions as you. When you’re using a single GMail account, it works absolutely wonderfully. However when you’re working with two or more things get confusing.

I too have a domain hosted by Google. #1 on my wish list is this. I have a sizable number of available accounts that I will never use. My domain is for my family and our family isn’t growing. I would love to be able to cash in some of those unused accounts for more storage. After all if I wanted to I could activate and use them and eat up that storage. But this brings me back to the problem you raise: how do I deal with multiple accounts?

Victor Vasconcelos

For the calendar, have you tried using label rules to forward, instead of the forward-all feature?
Also, there is a Greasemonkey script that you can save your multiple logins and it shows a dropdown box on the top of Google’s most famous products and you can easily change accounts, without the need to logout and login again.

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