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How to manage multiple Google accounts?

Ways to avoid confusion in the severely flawed Google accounts system

11:04 am on Nov 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Right now I maintain 4 Google accounts: 3 for our main office and branch offices, and one personal account. Each account manages AdWords, AdSense, Sitemaps and Alerts - the personal one handles GMail too.

What happens now is that whenever I use one of the services - be it AdSense or Sitemaps or even Maps - Google randomly switches the used account to my personal account. So for example I'm in sitemaps. I starts with my personal account. I log off and re-login with the branch office "A" account. I start doing my work in Sitemaps, and all of a sudden - without ANY message/warning - I find myself in the Sitemaps for my personal account again. Then I have to log out again, re-login, continue my work, and sooner or later it dumps to my personal account again.

This is not only annoying and time-consuming. As a matter of fact it is prone to error too. Actually I once deleted a GMail account by error due to this random faulty behaviour.

When I only worked with two accounts, I used to manage one account in Firefox and the other one in Internet Explorer. But this can't be the solution.

So, anybody who can confirm this flawed behaviour? Anybody knowing a workaround? Any help will be appreciated.

4:23 pm on Nov 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member quadrille is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

I'd guess the problem is more likely to be a browser / password storage problem, rather than Big G.

Probably best to close all other browser windows - I use IE for one account, FF for another. No problems.

If it persists, contact google direct.

4:31 pm on Nov 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Well, yes, of course I think it's a browser/cookie problem. But since it is persistent on three installations so far, I assume its a general problem.

I DID contact Google directly, but they just plain ignored it.

4:31 pm on Nov 22, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member netmeg is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

This is a MAJOR pet peeve of mine too, made even worse because I have to create Google accounts for each of my clients who use AdWords, and while I can link the accounts into a single MCC, I still have to manage all those Google Accounts for billing issues. My clients don't want to deal with Google Accounts; most don't even know they have them - they want me to do everything. Plus there's my own account, and one for my company. Various Google Calendars - something or other is ALWAYS complaining that I'm logged in as the wrong Google Account when I try to access it. It sure would be nice (hint hint) if Google could come up with some kind of an overall Account Manager - similar to the MCC in spirit - where we could link all of our accounts, have access to everything, and maybe just a drop down to select which account we're using. I'm aware of the security issues, but I can handle those - I'm smarter than I look. And I don't know that it would be any more of an issue than it is for the MCC and AdWords accounts.
10:40 am on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Oh my, I just started to use Google Analytics and now it gets really bad. Almost EACH time I get dropped to my personal account, and I can't access a single statistics page from the account it is intended to :-(
3:53 pm on Dec 7, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


I am using Firefox, and its Password manager, which by the way is also password protected. If you are not familiar with Firefox's password manager, it asks you each time you login to a new place with new login info if you want to have the password remembered. If you choose yes, it will remember it, if you choose no, it will not ask you again, and there is a third option: 'never forget', which means that on that particular page that will be the only one login and password pre-filled for you.
Now, if you choose yes, and you have more than one login info and password for a page, let's say for your adwords account, you just have to type in the first character and it will display all the saved login names, once you choose the desired one, it will plug in the password for you automatically.

I agree, this shouldn't be the ultimate solution, but it is not bad to survive until Google makes something happen.

I think they should start with being able to share the Google Webmaster Tools for individual account, similarly to Google Analytics.

10:52 pm on Dec 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Thanks, but I AM actually using the FF password manager. I actually came to think that it might be part of the problem...
4:50 am on Dec 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I'm actually managing this at the moment by logging into my own or client accounts with different browsers.
Of course, I am rapidly running out of browsers ;), but it worked well for a while.
I rarely make a mistake, either, because the look and feel of the browsers is different enough to make me go 'waaaaaait a minute' :)
8:49 pm on Dec 9, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

At least this proves that there IS a problem. Can't be the solution though.
4:36 pm on Dec 18, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

*sigh* Due to the above-mentioned "glitch" Google Analytics picked the wrong account. However TWO GAnalytics-code-snippets seem to get ignored. AND I haven't found how to delete an Analytics account again.

THIS CAN'T BE! Is it really possible there is NO solution for this other than using multiple browsers?

3:47 am on Jun 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

<moved from another location>

I wanted to share a way that I found to manage my Google accounts with a little less pain. I found a plug-in for Firefox called CookieSwap [addons.mozilla.org ]. It allows you to swap to a different cookie profile on the fly. So for example, if I'm on my custom Google home page for one account, I can use CookieSwap to change my cookie profile and just reload the page into my alternate Google account all without a browser restart.

Help on how to use this plug-in can also be found here:
[cookieswap.mozdev.org ]

[edited by: tedster at 3:50 am (utc) on June 20, 2007]

11:38 am on Jul 3, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Wow! Great find. I ran into this (my) problem earlier today again, since Blogger uses the same cookies now as well. I'll give it a try and report back.
12:00 pm on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I've just downloaded the CookieSwap addon and it seems to be working fantastically well! Nice find!

I've only tested it with Google homepage, adwords and sitemaps, but it seems to work flawlessly so far.

12:08 pm on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

How about unckecking the box that reads "Remember me on this computer."


1:04 pm on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Was on to our G rep yest asking him to get a GA expert in there to give me a call & sort us out.

Part of the problem appears to be that they use a different system to you and me & so have trouble replicating issues like these at their end - meaning things aren't obvious until we start kicking and screaming

5:04 pm on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I am in this same situation and I get around it with one copy of Firefox with no special extensions. I run with multiple profiles.

My main account's shortcut is the default shortcut:
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe"

My additional account shortcuts are:
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P Profile1
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P Profile2
"C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" -P Profile3

A potential downside is that you can't be in two different accounts at once (eg. main account and profile1). To me, this is good because it helps me keep focused and avoid multitasking :)

Good luck!

6:53 pm on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yeah the whole Google account setup is a bit of mess. A while ago it forced me to create a new account to access Adsense. So now I need an account for Adwords and a seperate one for Adsense which makes it a pain swithching between them. When you try to access one it displays a page about creating a new account, it should at least have some kind of quick login box to log me out and back in again quickly.
11:05 pm on Jul 4, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

i had the same problem,

i now use firefox for my personal account and ie for my company,

that way they boh store cookies seperately and everytime i open google on firefox it shows my personal details and company details on IE

10:40 am on Jul 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

"something or other is ALWAYS complaining that I'm logged in as the wrong Google Account"

yeah this is so annoying, i wish google would ask you to login again for each thing rather then assume the account logged in to gmail was the account i want to use with adwords or whatever.

Im trying to setup google checkout at the moment and I had to create another google account because I keep getting the error "buying from yourself is not allowed", but its annoying because when i checkout i can't be logged into gmail at the same time or it assumes thats the account i want to use, if i click logout it logs me out of my gmail account too. sooooo annoying!

seems the only solution is to use different browsers, but that seems a bit extreme

1:34 pm on Jul 5, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

This drives me crazy also. What's really annoying is that I store all my bookmarks in the Google Toolbar with my personal Google account. That means when I sign into AdWords using our corporate account, I can't access my bookmarks anymore.
10:49 am on Jul 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I used the suggested solution now for some time, and it works like a charm! You can even switch the cookie set, then reload the very page you're on and it uses the new account. A managing-user-interface would be nice in contrast of manually handling the configuration files, but already now my problem is solved!
3:32 pm on Jul 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

use the "ie tab" plugin for firefox. you can have 2 google accounts open at the same time.

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