How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature

Varun Kashyap 12-08-2010

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.

How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature settingsdropdown

  • 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.

How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature editoffsetting

  • 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.

How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature enabledchecks

  • 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

How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature signintootherFollowing 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?


Related topics: Google, Online Privacy.

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  1. Anonymous
    August 15, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    As craig said hotmail has had this feature for a while, the only reason I'm not going to use it here is because I don't want to lose offline gmail.

  2. TechroSyncVibe
    August 12, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    @Hogcall Agree totally [Broken Link Removed]

  3. Blueskysafari
    August 12, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    i wish ORKUT is also included..

  4. HogCall
    August 12, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    This would be totally awesome *IF* it also remembered the other user accounts each time I came back! That way a person could log in once, and immediately have access to all their accounts.

    • Varun Kashyap
      August 17, 2010 at 1:39 pm

      Not sure what you mean, but it actually remembers the accounts you use together.

  5. Craig Darlow
    August 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Microsoft has had this feature for a while, glad Google finally got around to it. However, I still don't understand why browsers don't offer the ability to manage separate sessions - rather than having to use two different browsers.