Answering my own questions since 2001

Google and My Identity Crisis

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:

  1. In 2004, I sign up to Google AdSense using the email address darren@darrenbarefoot.com.
  2. Gmail comes along, and I procure an experimental email address at dbarefoot42@gmail.com (please don’t email me there–that’s not really the address, anyway).
  3. The G-Man releases Google Analytics, and I have to subscribe with a Gmail account, so I use dbarefoot42@gmail.com.
  4. We switch our company email to Gmail for Domains, so now my darren@capulet.com account is another Gmail account of sorts.
  5. I’ve been using Writely, which gets acquired by Google and becomes Google Documents and Spreadsheets. My Writely account–using darren@capulet.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.

2 Responses to “Google and My Identity Crisis”

  1. Iz in Yur Identity System | DarrenBarefoot.com

    [...] I’ve written previously about my struggles with Google and its deeply b0rked identity system. It’s also a pet peeve of Boris’s. Inspired by Google’s recent acquisition of FeedBurner (where, yes, I have at least one account), I wanted to render my pain as a diagram. I doubt I’ve got the order of sign-ups exactly correct, but it’s in the ballpark. Maybe I should have been more responsible along the way, but clearly the issue here isn’t all PEBCAK. [...]

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