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Keeping multiple Google accounts open at the same time

This is part three of getting started with cloud and telecomputing with Google. It follows on from how to create a Google account and how to customize the Google browser.

Signing in and out of a single gmail account isn’t exactly difficult, but when you have multiple accounts, such as personal and business/work, signing in and out of each can become a little tedious.

Once set up, switching between accounts is simply a matter of clicking on a dropdown and choosing which one to open in a new tab. Each profile will have its own bookmarks bar, and to help distinguish between profiles, we can have different profile pictures and wallpapers.

Why do I need multiple Google accounts?

One of several reasons for more than one Google account is to separate work from pleasure. For example your employer may forbid you from using the business account assigned to you.

Stay signed in to multiple accounts at once

Having to sign out of one account before signing into another is no way to live your life. This feature allows you to jump from one account to the other without having to jump through these cumbersome hoops.

It doesn’t matter if some accounts are free and others are the premium business account created by your employer. As far as we’re concerned, they’re all Google accounts.

Added security

As you would expect, Google provides the option of 2 step sign in. While this is good in such cases as banking, for everyday accounts it may be a little counterproductive,

You could therefore create an account specifically for financial transactions: banking and shopping etc. then apply two factor login to this account only.

Multiple social media accounts

For reasons beyond the scope of this guide, many people want more than one of the same social media account. A common factor of which is the need for a unique email address.

The option to have more than one Google account solves this problem. Dual sim smartphones and the option for such devices to have multiple users also helps to facilitate the process..

Unlike many social media platforms, Google allows us to use the same phone number and username for different accounts.

More storage space

Each account comes with 15GB of storage space for files, emails and photos. While this is often enough for most people, photos are often the culprit when it comes to testing this limitation.

The cost of extra storage space is reasonably priced at XXX for 100GB. But with a large number of files, it can soon become difficult to organize.

Photo storage

Mobile devices are invariably equipped with cameras and room for photo storage. With the option of automatically loading photos to their Drive, some people create a Google account specifically for the pictures taken on their mobiles.

Forwarding

Even though the method below illustrates how to easily jump from one account to another, having more than one active email account doesn’t mean we have to check each one individually,

As the gmail guide demonstrates, emails can be forwarded to other accounts and then answered as if from the original address.

Creating a second Google account

I assume at this point you’ve already created your first Google account, or one given to you by your employer.

Any gmail address can be used as your recovery email for your additional accounts. But I strongly advise you to only use one that you can’t ever be denied access to.

Open the Chrome browser and sign in to any gmail or business Workspace account. At the very top right of the browser you’ll notice the profile circle.

Without profile image
Chrome browser user icon without profile image
With profile image
Chrome browser user icon with image

This will contain either your profile image associated with the signed in account, or a coloured circle containing a letter denoting the signed in user. Click that to open up what will eventually become your profiles listing

Initially it will only contain one profile and show the logged in status for that specific account. We’ll return to this later.

Empty chrome profile list with the option to add a profile highlighted

click + Add at the bottom to begin the creation process

Adding an existing, or creating a new account, follow very similar processes. The main differences being with a new account you’ll need to verify it’s you.

Where do I create a new account/profile?

popup for set up new Chrome profile

The popup that appears doesn’t yet provide us with the option to create an account, only to sign in to an existing one. The ability to create a new account appears in the next popup after we click the blue Sign in button.

popup prompting user to sign in or create a new account

Now we have two options: the sign in to an existing account is for adding an account you already have and want to keep open with this one.

In the bottom left you’ll see the option to Create account. We’re going to opt for this one. This will open up the Create your Google Account popup.

popup prompting user to sign in or create a new account

Naming your Google account and Chrome profile

It isn’t exactly unknown to have five or 6 accounts. All of which will appear in your profiles dropdown list. So we need a method of differentiating between them, this is where profile naming comes in handy.

Unless you’re wanting to create a totally different persona, there’s no reason you can’t use your real name for all the accounts you open. Using the same name will also avoid any conflict with phone verification.

Chrome profile names

There is a subtle difference between Google account name and Chrome profile name. Your account name is the one you use to sign up with. Whereas your profile name is the one used in your profiles listing and to better identify the account.

Problems in determining which account is which could occur when we view our profiles list. So when thinking of a profile name, I find it best to create one that best describes the account.

In the profiles listing each account will be labelled with the first name from the name you used to sign up with and your profile name in brackets, e.g: David (dumbtutor).

Our Chrome profiles appear in our listing as we create them. We can then click on the profile we want to open. Below is an example of how the listings will populate. You can access this by clicking on your profile icon at the top

popup prompting user to sign in or create a new account

Don’t worry too much about the names. As I explain later,: both of them can be changed,

Continuing with the sign up process

The rest of the process follows the earlier guide on how to create a Google account. To avoid repetition, if you face any problems during the create account process please refer to this guide.

Accessing and editing multiple browser profiles

Having added a new account, the heavy lifting is over. We can now keep our accounts open at the same time

Now when you click the user icon in the top right the dropdown will show the current logged in user. Below you’ll see the other profiles available to log into. Clicking on one of these will open the profile in a new widow.

Editing your account and profile details

We all make mistakes and circumstances change: two reasons why we may want to change our profile details. Fortunately for us, this is a relatively simple task.

The easiest way to access and edit your profile and account settings is by opening the profiles dropdown from any account you're logged into.

Profile settings cog

Once this is open, notice, below the logged in details, the cog to the right of where it says Other profiles. This will present you with another popup showing all your profiles.

The 'Who's using Chrome popup showing all Chrome profiles

To the top right of each profile you’ll notice three vertical dots. Clicking on these will give you the options to Edit and Delete the profile.

The 'Who's using Chrome popup showing all Chrome profiles

Clicking Edit will open up a new tab, with the options to edit various aspects of the profile. There's also limited options to edit your theme,but, as I explain in the create a Google account guide, there are better ways.

In the input field below Name your Chrome profile you’ll see your current profile name. This is editable so you’re free to name it what you want.

How to change your Google account name

While the list is almost endless, I won't go beyond marriage and divorce as reasons for wanting to change your actual account name.

Chrome settings icon

While signed in to the account in question, open a new tab and open the apps dropdown by clicking on the three rows of 3 dots in the top right. Then click the Account icon.

In the new tab that opens, click on Personal info in the left sidebar. The Basic info section contains editable details. Clicking on the More icon to the right of these details opens them up in edit mode.

Other Google account edibles

You’ve made it this far and now know how to edit various aspects of your Google account details.

While I haven’t explained them, you should now be able to apply the same logic to change other aspects such as gender, (yes it happens) and date of birth. Although unless you made a mistake the first time around, I can’t think of any reason for changing the latter.