Did you know that you can be logged into two Google accounts at once? This is particularly handy if your organisation uses Google Apps AND you have a personal Google account.
All you have to do to enable this feature is to go to your account settings and edit your Multiple Sign On setting IN BOTH ACCOUNTS. You’ll find you need to log out of the other account when you try to do this or because you have one foot in an multiple account world and one in the old fashioned single account world.
You’ll also find very funny things happening if you only do one. Funny if you like being logged out half way through editing a document.
Enabling the Multiple Sign On setting means you will get the ability to “Switch Accounts” from your account menu.
Warning: Being logged into two Google accounts is a bit cludgey.
Once you’ve set yourself up to access two accounts, you’ll probably start coming across this dialog a lot. I do…
It’s a corker isn’t it? EVERY time I encounter it it twists my melon man because it’s almost not a double negative somehow isn’t it? The ordering of the two accounts in the message seems wrong ( or confusing ) somehow.
How was I to know which account I was trying to access my mail with? What SHOULD happen when I click “Cancel” – as it happens it redirects to a Google search page ( huh? ). I really don’t care what Google thinks I’m logged in with ( that’s their problem) , I simply want to do the thing I wanted to do.
And conceptually, Google are introducing a subtly different idea here, and that is, that although I can be logged into two accounts, when doing something like “reading mail”, there is the concept of there being the currently active account. I know this might technically be the case, and that instead of “reading my mail” I’ve actually tried to access a “read my mail URL that doesn’t exist for the other account” but the interface suggests that that is what might be going on.
Shouldn’t the dialog message go…
- You are logged in with tom.smith@york etc..
- But you need to be logged in to remarkability@ etc
[ OK – Go ahead and us to remarkability@ ] [ CANCEL – and take me to Google ]
A simple re-ordering, stating explicitly will happen when you click a button would make this crappy, mind-boggling UI much better. Or is it just me?
I’m reminded of the excellent work of Jef Raskin ( go read Humane Interface now ) because what he regularly managed to pull off was looking at something as ordinary as a error dialog and find a way to break conventional thinking and make it better. And using his “interface notation” idea, he’d be able to prove it was better…
Or is it just me?
My only reason for posting this is knowing that if York “go Google” then without a doubt we will have a shed load of people who want to keep using their personal Google accounts and make use of the Multiple Log In setting.
I have knack ( based on years of working on my own personal stupidity ) for knowing what will confuse people and I’m really not looking forward to trying to explain this one over and over again. I’m not sure if I’ve got the right solution, but at least it’s a bit less-is-more-y.
p.s I’ve just discovered that Google + doesn’t want to play nicely with the whole switching accounts idea… sigh…