I am a huge fan of Gmail, Google’s free email service, and have used it for many years for personal communications, as well as my consulting business. When I joined my previous employer, I was provided a Gmail account through Google Apps, which presented an interesting dilemma: I could not have both personal and work email open at the same time! Moreover, I was using Google Docs with my personal account as well as the work account, and I often found that I needed to access both at the same time. Shouldn’t have Google thought of this scenario? Frustrated with this seemingly unlikely challenge, I set out to figure out the best solution.
Using Two Browsers
My initial approach was to use Safari for personal email and Firefox for work. That worked very well, except that having two browsers opened with multiple tabs and other applications running seemed to slow down my computer considerably. Soon after, I began working on my startup company and had another Google Apps account to deal with, so I had to use a third browser for that – Google Chrome. Needless to say, my computer slowness has gotten much worse.
Through a friend, I happened to meet an engineer from Google, and I explained this dilemma to him. He told me that Gmail had a feature which allowed for multiple accounts to be configured and accessed within the same browser. I was shocked, because I had no idea that this was available! Google certainly didn’t promote this feature, even though with 4 million businesses using Google Apps, it could be important to tens of millions of people. After trying this feature, I realized it’s crippling limitations:
- In order to open the 2nd profile, I usually had to do it two times. With the loading time of 10-15 seconds on each click, this seemed like an eternity
- I was unable to use Google Docs from both accounts within the same browser.
Short of using three separate computers, it seems I have to suffer through the slowness of having three different browsers running at the same time. Google, are you hearing this? We need a solution soon!
About The Author
Greg Rublev is a dedicated web products geek and a technology blogger. When is not writing about Google Apps and backups he is busy working on LeanWagon, a startup helping people eat healthy and lose weight.