Google Accounts/Google Apps Transition – Nightmare

In the beginning Google had various services like Reader, Picasso etc. which you could sign up for. You used an email address to define the account for those services.

If you used Google Apps for Domains to host your email etc, your Google Apps account, password etc. were entirely separate from the account you used for the other Google Services. This was a little crazy…

So then Google said “You can transition your Google Apps accounts so they are real Google accounts, and you can use them for all Google services”. And I along with everyone else thought “Finally” and got on with it.

So when I now sign into Reader, I get a confusing page about the transition. I would have thought I’d get a helpful message saying “Hello Simon, I notice you are signing into an account with the same email as a Google Apps account – would you like to merge these, now we’ve finally sorted out our back end infrastructure?” and this would have been perfectly fine.

Instead, it appears what I have to do is move my old Reader account to a *different* email address. If I want to use my original email address, I have to export all my data and reimport into Reader under my “new” account (which is the same email address, just now managed by Google Apps).

I can’t believe it. I really hope I am misunderstanding this, although the forums appear to be up in arms. Google have a helpful page (with Video!) here and I can kind of understand where they are coming from it does appear to be driven by an edge case where the “Organisation” owning the Google Apps domain doesn’t want people to associate personal data with it… but what happens if my Google Apps domain is a personal one?

What do you do where you can’t completely export/import all the data from one account to another???

Major Fail.

IMHO they need to do one of:

  • Make it easy to change the email associated with a Google account (and for that to be an email that also has Google services – so things get merged)
  • Allow Google Apps administrators to let people retain their email for Google accounts, as part of the domain transitioning process

As it is I am lucky, the only Google service I really use with my Google Apps domain is Google Reader, which is a fairly simple import/export. If I was a more active user of Google the Google offerings I would be hopping mad right now!