Sign in to Multiple Gmail Accounts

This entry is part 27 of 27 in the series Black Belt

Few things from Google fall short of “fantastic” for me, but the new feature to login to multiple Google accounts at once was met with a solid “meh”.

My original thought was “great, now I don’t need all those accounts under ‘send mail as’.” Such was not the case this time. Per Google’s posting on the Gmail Blog, they say you can login to two Google accounts at once, however there are some gotchas.

1) Not all Google services support multiple account sign-in yet. For the services that don’t support it (like Blogger and Picasa Web Albums), you’ll be defaulted to the first account you signed in with during that browser session. So if you click a link from Gmail to Blogger, for example, you’ll be logged into Blogger with the first account you signed in with, even if you clicked the link to Blogger from your second Gmail account.

2) We’re still working on making Gmail and Calendar work offline with multiple sign-in. If you rely on offline access, you probably don’t want to enable this feature quite yet.

3) Multiple account sign-in only works on desktop browsers for now, so if you use Gmail on your phone’s browser you won’t see this option yet.

Since Google Apps customers can already sign in to their accounts at the same time as their personal Google Accounts, we won’t be adding this new feature to Google Apps until the new infrastructure is in place.

This doesn’t do anything for me. It only supports up to three Google accounts, not all apps are supported, and hosted email addresses won’t be coming along for a while. What’s the big deal everyone has been jumping up and down for? OK, setting up shared calendars can be a bit of a pain, but once it’s done, you get to use those calendars on your iPhone, iPad, iCal, and other places. As for shared Gmail, that’s already been answered and I’d rather switch at the top of the message using a centralized account with the Send Mail As feature (read: change the sender on the fly) than switch to a different account to check that mail.

For usefulness, I give this feature a 2 out of 10. Maybe I’ll see more value when the hosted accounts can play.

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