<firstimage=”//static.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/09/googlelogo.gif”>Google offers a myriad of products to choose from and everything is tied up with a single Google Account. This has its pros and cons. While you have to remember only a single password and your experience is customized across the products, it also means that you cannot use Gmail with one account and Google Sites with the other simultaneously.
Until very recently, you had to resort to various hacks, tools or different browsers if you wanted to use multiple Google accounts at a given time. However, now there is an official Google way, which allows you to sign into multiple accounts at the same time.
How to use the feature is not entirely evident, partly because you wouldn’t know it exists until you happen to stumble upon it. Let’s see how to enable multiple sign-in and then we shall look at the pros and cons of the feature.
To Enable Multiple Sign-in
- Log into one of the Google services such as Gmail, Reader, Calendar or Docs. Click on settings and most likely you will have an option to edit the Google Account settings. For example in Gmail you can find such an option under the accounts tab, in Reader it shows up as a menu option in the settings drop down.
- You can also visit the Google Account Settings directly if need be.
- Once you are there, notice that the “Multiple Sign-in” option is off by default. Click on the Edit link next to the option to change this.
- You will be taken to a page that details what Multiple sign-in is, how it works and what services currently support it. Click on the radio button next to On and it enables a set of checkboxes.
- Each of these checkboxes highlight an important aspect of multiple sign-in. You should read through them and check them once you have read the points.
- Now click Save towards the bottom and this should enable multiple sign-in.
Use Multiple Sign-in
Following the above steps, multiple sign-in should be enabled for your Google Account. Reload any of the Google services or log back in and you will see a drop down arrow besides your Google Account ID. Click on it to reveal “Sign in to another account“. Click it and you should be taken to the log in page asking for credentials to another account.
Once you are successfully logged into the second account you will be able to view each of them in the same drop down menu and switch back and forth between the accounts with a simple click.
The Pros & Cons
As always there are some pros and cons that you should consider when you choose to enable multiple sign in. First off, the biggest advantage is the fact that you don’t have to rely on third party tools, different browsers or the incognito mode to sign into different accounts. Having such a feature coming straight out of Google’s machines is a lot more reliable.
You can easily have two Gmails or two Google Calendars (or any other supported) accounts open in separate tabs in the same browser, which is a lot better and more productive. All you have to do is load Gmail in two tabs and then switch accounts in one of the tabs.
The obvious shortcomings of the feature is that it is not available for all Google Products at this moment. In particular it is limited to Gmail, Calendar, Reader, Code, Voice and Sites, which if you ask me covers pretty much all of the products where you might want to use multiple sign ins often.
Another potential pitfall is the fact that enabling multiple sign-in disables offline Gmail and Calendar functionality, which is something you should keep in mind, if you use these products offline.
I Need Multiple Sign In On Other Products
Yeah, we hear you. Chances are you might want to use multiple Google accounts with other products as well. For such cases, your options are essentially the same that you had before Google came along with this offering, namely:
- Use two different browsers. Most of us have Internet Explorer on our computers and installed an additional browser, so this can work out pretty good.
- Use Private Browsing Mode (or Incognito Mode) to log in with another account simultaneously, considering of course that this will bypass history and stored sessions.
- Use one of the third party tools like notifiers, Gmail Manager, CookieSwap etc.
Thinking of potential uses of the feature already? Why not share them with others in the comments section?