Personal and Work Gmail – Setting Up User Accounts in Chrome
For a long time, this was a very common problem, especially as Google Apps For Education (#GAFE) became much more prevalent among education providers. Suddenly teachers found themselves trying to log into their work Gmail accounts, and signing out of the personal accounts. Their Google Drive didn’t know what to do, and the teaching world was in a state of panic.
But have no fear, there are two solutions to this all too common problem. Even today, another teacher explained to me her predicament and the trials and tribulations that surrounded it. She alluded to the solution being what used to be the work around.
For a long time, the work around for this situation was, quite simply, to sign into one account in one browser, say Google Chrome, and then sign into the other account in a different browser, such as Mozilla Firefox. This way if you wanted to access your work gmail account, you would open up Chrome, and if you needed to access your personal account, you might open up Firefox. This was my solution to the problem before I found out about User Accounts in Google Chrome.
Google have been very clever and not only eliminated the problem from happening, but even enhancing the whole experience with simple and effective usability, all while not having to give up your favourite browser (let’s face it – it’s Chrome!).
Sign into Chrome
Within Google Chrome, they enabled users to ‘sign in’ to the browser using any Google related email address. This then enabled users to save bookmarks, history, and passwords to the browser account. What’s more, is because these were saved to the account, any other computer with Chrome on it that you sign into with that account will also have the saved bookmarks, history, and passwords made available.
In this setup, I will explain how this works for me. I have two laptops – my work one, and my personal one. I log into my browser at work and start saving passwords as I log into different accounts. I build up all my teaching bookmarks and organise them into folders (because we love organisation in our profession). Then, when I get home, I can open up Google Chrome on my personal laptop, sign in with my work account, and voila – there’s my bookmarks, and signing into that teaching assessment and marking website is a breeze, as the password is already saved for you.
However; there still remains the problem of having my Chrome browser now accessing my work Gmail – how can I sign into my personal gmail now?
Well – Google thought of this, and allowed there to be more than one user of the browser. Thats right. Just as you signed into the browser, you can set up a second ‘Profile’ to sign in to using your personal account. And just as with your work account, you can now save personal bookmarks, your facebook and twitter account passwords, and your personal browsing history to that signed in account!
Now you can continue using Google Chrome as your favourite browser and simply switch between the signed in Profiles. Problem solved!
How to Setup User Accounts in Google Chrome
- In the top-right corner of the browser window, click the button for the current user. This can be the person’s name, email, or an icon like this . This is the person who is signed into the browser. If no user account is signed in, then you can click on the same button with your name or email, and sign into Chrome. See Help for more info.
- Select ‘Switch Person’.
- A window will display, which allows you to see the accounts. At the bottom of this window is “Sign in as Guest” and “Add Person”.
- Once you have more than one Profile set up, you can switch between them by opening the same window and clicking on the user icon.
The other great thing about Google Chrome in this mode, is that, as long as you don’t close them, it will have two instances of Google Chrome open – one with your first Chrome profile, and another with your second Chrome profile. Below I have attached a screenshot of this in action.
For more help, Google Support has a great outline for all of their products. See here for multiple Chrome profiles.