Using Multiple Gmail Accounts

There are a lot of people out there that have multiple Gmail accounts, and often ask me how they can have both of them open, or access both of them on the same computer.  The problem is when you sign into your Gmail account it puts a cookie in your browser as to who you are, so when you try to sign in again the browser already knows who you are and just opens the account you have signed in with.  This is a problem for all the major email accounts and websites, such as Yahoo or Hotmail, but I want to focus today on Gmail.  There are five basic ways that I have found, and I have outlined them here below.

  1. Sign In / Sign Out – This is the most obvious one, basically you can sign into your primary Gmail account, then when finished signout and sign into your other Gmail account.  This is the least desired option is it makes a lot of work when most of the time it is easier just to have them open at the same time.
  2. Multiple Browsers – If you have both Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome installed on your computer, you can open one Gmail account in one Browser, and the other Gmail account in the other Browser.  As the browsers keep their own Internet cache, there is not conflict and you can easily have both Gmail accounts open at the same time.
  3. Private Browsing – In most browsers, you can open what is normally called Private Browsing.  This opens a session of the browser that does not access your Internet cache and keeps its own, which it then deletes when you close the browser window.  I have blogged about this before in my post called, Surfing in Secret.
  4. Google’s Multiple Sign-In – Google has already acknowledged that people use more than one Gmail account, especially if they use Google Apps for work.  Google has already created a very nice and simple fix to this called the Multiple Sign-In.  I have already blogged about this, so for more information check out my blog post entitled, Google Multiple Sign-In.
  5. Local Email Client – Another option of course is to install a local email client like Thunderbird and setup both Gmail accounts to run email locally with IMAP.  The biggest downside here is now you have taken a very nice, web based client, and made it local to your computer.  And if you are like me, accessing my email is only one part of what I use Gmail for.  It does not provide you with great access to calendars, docs, etc.  So while this method works, it is not my first choice.

My favorite method of the ones above is Google’s Multiple Sign-In.  This way it is just another tab in your current browser without any extra work arounds, or methods.  But depending on your situation you may want to try a different method.