Sunday, 15 August 2010

Google App account migration

I received an email from Google a few weeks ago informing me that soon the @gardiner.net.au accounts hosted in Google Apps will be able to access virtually all of the suite of regular Google Applications (eg. Blogger, Reader etc). About time!

"Google Apps" is the name of Google's hosted app service for a specific domain – not to be confused with Google Applications which you can access with just a regular Google account.

Up until now, Google Apps users were limited to a small subset (Mail, Calendar, Docs, Chat and Sites). This also meant if you wanted to access non-App applictions, you had to have a separate Google account, though it could have the same name as your Google app account.

This change is a good thing in that now the one account will be used to log in to both the App services as well as the other applications.

If you have a Google account with the same name as your Google Apps account, the non-Apps account will be renamed so that it is now unique. Any services/applications that were attached to the non-App account will remain with with that account.

So while all the services that I used to access with my old Google account are still there, they are now attached to the renamed account instead.

One thing that is helpful in the interim is Google have recently added the ability to switch between multiple accounts (Windows Live IDs have had this for some time), however I'd prefer to have all my services under the same account. Unfortunately there is no automated migration path to transition application settings between accounts.

The only solution is to manually move settings over. eg. For Reader, export my feeds to an OPML file then import them (which is fine for feeds but doesn't migrate your "shared items" nor the "people you follow"). For other services like Blogger, Google Groups and Google Code, you need to re-register with the new account.

All this is a pain for me, but the other tricky part is that I'm not the only person using my domain. Google does tell me that there are other family members who are in a similar situation but for privacy reasons they won't tell me exactly who or what those users are. I'll have to wait for them to contact me so I can help them out. At least my domain just has a few users – this is going to be a much larger job for enterprise customers!

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