Understanding Google Accounts

This article is about Google accounts:  what they are- and aren't, how to access them, and what the account-names look like.  This supports another article about the relationship between Google accounts and Google-Apps accounts.

Blogger accounts vs Google accounts

Once upon a time (pre 2006), there was a tool on the internet called Blogger.   People created accounts on Blogger, and then used them to make a blog that was owned by their Blogger account.

Then Google (the company that made the search engine) purchased Blogger.   They wanted to integrate their products, so Blogger users had to change their original Blogger accounts to "Google accounts".  (Google were pretty nice about this:   they kept support old, unconverted Blogger accounts up til 2011, but have recently said that this will stop soon.) 

At the time, very few people understood the difference between Google-the-company and Google-the-search-engine, so most didn't have any idea of the power and importance of these "Google accounts".   However as the other applications available through our Google accounts grew (Gmail, Picasa-web-albums, Google-custom-maps, AdSense, AdWords, etc), this has become clearer.

Getting a Google account

To make a new Google account, you just have to sign-up for any one of the products that Google offers (Gmail, Blogger, AdSense, etc).

The sign-up screen asks you to enter an email address, and says that it "(must already exist)".  But it does not check that the email-account does actually exist.

If the product that you sign up with is Gmail (which is where Google accounts started, I think), then it makes sense that the account name is the email address.

However Google (or perhaps even Blogger:  I don't remember) decided that people would use a text-string that looks like an email address as their Google-account name - even if the email address isn't a Gmail one, and even if there is no valid email account with that address

This means there are Google accounts called Joe.blogs@yahoo.com, and similar.  There are even Google accounts with a name that is not, and never has been, a real email address.  This has caused lots of confusion and problems:
  • If the email address isn't a gmail one, then changing the password of the email doesn't change the password of the Google account
  • Some people don't understand that their Google account name is just a set of letters: they don't realise that they can change the email address attached to their account without changing the underlying account (Dashboard > Edit Profile, identity tab).
  • Some people lost access to the email address (eg because they leave their job, or use a free service and didn't log on for 30 or 60 or however-many day).
  • Some people never had access to the email address, because they used a text-string that wasn't actually an address, and Google never checked if non-Gmail addresses actually worked.
In these cases, problems happened when that email address was the only tool that the person used to identify their Google accounts.  If it's not real, or they can't access it any more, then Google can't help when they forget their passwords,etc.  So there are some blogs that can never be accessed ever again, because Google has no way of being sure who owns the Google-account that made them.

Related Articles: 

Blogs, Blogger and Bloggers, Google Inc vs google - some basic terms

Understanding Google Apps accounts

Fixing conflicting Google and Google Apps accounts

Linking your blog and Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc

Copyright, Blogs and Bloggers

Setting up your custom domain

Auto-renewing your blog's custom domain

AdSense and AdWords - understanding the difference.


Post a Comment

Home - About - Order - Testimonial
Copyright © 2010 Tips Blogging All Rights Reserved.