Google, as you know, is much more than a search engine. They offer all sorts of useful, free Web applications that the average Web head can use for fun and profit. I’ve been using many of these services for a couple of years now, and I’ve run into a problem: Google doesn’t know the real me.
Here’s a quick play-by-play:
- In 2004, I sign up to Google AdSense using the email address email@example.com.
- Gmail comes along, and I procure an experimental email address at firstname.lastname@example.org (please don’t email me there–that’s not really the address, anyway).
- The G-Man releases Google Analytics, and I have to subscribe with a Gmail account, so I use email@example.com.
- We switch our company email to Gmail for Domains, so now my firstname.lastname@example.org account is another Gmail account of sorts.
- I’ve been using Writely, which gets acquired by Google and becomes Google Documents and Spreadsheets. My Writely account–using email@example.com–gets converted over, so I have to use it for Google Docs and Spreadsheets.
There’s even more to it, but that’s the basic idea. Unfortunately, Google now has three different ‘accounts’ for me, using three different email addresses. I’d have used the same one if that option had been available to me. It’s only going to get worse as they acquire more assets.
Hopefully some time in the future Google will provide some kind of account merging utility, so that I can get all my Google stuff under one roof. Alternately, maybe they’ll support an identity standard like OpenID and make all this account bollocks just go away.