Finally Fixed Google Account Mess – Google Apps versus Google ID versus Custom Email

21 Sep

In the early days of Google Apps the only way to sign up was by linking to an existing Google Account, in the format of  If you have one of those accounts, there is no way to tell Google that you are now   This means that Google Apps thinks of your original @gmail and new, @domain identities and two different ones. You can directly access (via URL) your own Calendar, Docs, Groups ..etc. all under your own domain, however, programs that need to access those apps only find the other version, attached to your account. A simple example is trying to save an event from, Zvents, or any other services: there’s no way to use them with your own domain.

For a long time now, I’ve had major problems with Google services. I usually use Google Apps, so I’m logged in as But from the mail app, if I was to visit Groups, it would bounce me to, a different account. The above web page explains how to unify those accounts – the trick is to go in as your Google account, edit the list of memberships (I didn’t know that was even possible), and remove gmail. When you do that, you can specify a new email address, since removing gmail means Google would otherwise have no email to contact you on. So you enter the address you use for Google Apps – your own domain – and now the accounts are unified.

That *would* have worked for me, but Google said it can’t do that because “we already have that address on the system”. Huh? Of course you do, that’s what I’m trying to unify. I had no idea what was going on, but fortunately there was also a reset password link, so after following it all up, I was able to see there was a *third* account I’d set up years ago, with login ID! This led to a very weird situation, where I could see two Google Docs pages, in separate browser tabs, both with as the user ID, but with completely different content! (one was a Google user with login ID ““; the other was user “michael” in the “” Google Apps domain). Weird!

My first step was to change email address for the custom “michael@mahemoff” Google account. Once I did that, I was able to follow the very helpful instructions from the blog post I linked to here, which I summarised above.

As a commenter in that blog post notes: “This is waaaay to complicated. No civilian (non-techy, non-early adopter) would waste their time jumping through so many hoops.”…

I’m glad I got it sorted though. I can now use my primary email address to interact with Google Groups.


One Response to “Finally Fixed Google Account Mess – Google Apps versus Google ID versus Custom Email”

  1. jayfresh September 22, 2009 at 9:44 am #

    Oh nice. Does this in any way relate to the annoying problem of only being able to use gmail to send email ‘on behalf of’ your own-domain email address?

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