Thursday, January 29, 2015

Managing for Multiple Google Accounts

Many people who are using Google Apps and the Google suite of products have a common issue that keeps cropping up - managing multiple Google account login names.  Perhaps you have been using Google for a long time and started with one account, and have now changed to another.  You might have already established an account on your own, and then your organization went to a Google solution for work.

Many people end up having more than one account they created to use in Google, and often times have created content (mail, articles, user profiles) in each account.  The question on how to manage is a difficult one.  Users often ask if they should choose one account over another? Should they try to manually consolidate accounts?  There's no simple solution (#nosurprise) but there are ways to manage your Google accounts that can save you some time and headaches.  

There are two solutions that are recommended to most users.  Notice, we did not say two easy solutions, nor two clever solutions.  These two methods should get you where you want to go with the least amount of hair pulling.  One solution involves toggling between accounts, and the second involves sharing from one account to another.

Solution #1 - Add additional accounts to your user account.  

Log into one of your Google Accounts.  When you mouse over your account profile picture the pop-up box (browser/device dependent) shows you a login box with your information as well as a box to "ADD ACCOUNT".
You can add an account to Google by looking at your profile

You can add your accounts here and then once they are added, toggle between them.

Want to read more info about signing onto multiple Google accounts at once? 

Google also has some other solutions for signing in and using multiple Google accounts (including using various browsers and windows), although again, no perfect solution.

Solution #2 - Sharing important content to multiple accounts

For many of us, we have been using various login names over many years and created content (email, documents, spreadsheets, ect...) under a series of names.  You could say we have somewhat of an identity crisis.

For items stored in Google Drive (formally Google Docs) the "share" option may be one of the best ways to make sure important information shows up in all the accounts you manage.  There are several ways to take advantage of the "share" option.  You'll need to be logged in under the account you have the source information in (see Solution #1 or log in under a username).

  1. Share an item to yourself (the new self)
  • Open the item you wish to have show up in your other account.  
  • In the options (upper right tools) select SHARE and type in the user account you want the item to be seen in.  

    You are using one account to share the item to your other account.  The item should now show up in BOTH accounts when you log into drive.
    1. Create a shared folder 
      • Create a new folder in your existing Google Drive 
      • In the options of the folder, choose to SHARE the entire folder (and all the contents that are placed in that folder) to your new account.   

    In this option, you can save yourself some time by having a more visual management method for file sharing.  The folder you created and shared will appear in both accounts and you can easily see what has been shared between accounts.

    Need more about Sharing in Google Drive?

    There are more solutions than the two identified here.  You can Google search for the ones that might be best for you.  Leave us a comment here if you find a good solution to share and why it works best for you.