Sunday, November 20, 2011

Google Apps and Google Account integration problems

Over the past year Google has been consolidating previously separate Google Apps and Google/Gmail accounts.

For example, consider At one time if I wanted the Google Apps users to have Reader access, I had to create a Google/Gmail account with the username They were separate services. After the merger they are supposed to be unified. The merge process was, unsurprisingly, rocky. Some things could transfer, some not. Relics of the discarded identity may remain in an orphaned Google/Gmail account with a peculiar URL.

It's still not working. Emily, for example, has problems authenticating with some Google services. Relics of her old identity produce odd error messages, especially with Google Reader. Some third party apps, don't work at all. for example. Seems she's not alone ...


... Having issues signing in with your Google Apps account? Some users reported that changing the password did the trick. If this does not help, enabling 2-step verification and creating an application specific password should get Reeder working again. Please see this help article (Getting started with 2-step verification) for more information...

I wonder if current problems are tied to Google's troubled and incomplete migration to two factor authentication.

We'll try Reeder's fixes, though two factor is not something I want to inflict on Emily. I fear James Fallows and Ezra Klein greatly overstate the usability of Google's work.

Beyond this immediate glitch, these problems reinforce my sense of where Google 2.0 is going. The train has changed direction, and I need to get off. Unfortunately, Google 1.0 crushed the competition, so there's nothing to get off too. It's a 100 mile walk through the Sahara to the next watering hole. It will take years for niche vendors to move into the spaces Google has opened up.

Update:  What I did to try to clear up the Google Apps vs. Google authentication issues.

First I found the email notification services associated with the account merger we performed in July 2011.

After the merge/migration of last July her old account data was associated with a modification of her old Google/Gmail username.  The domain is, the username is the old email address with % replacing @: (not her real domain).

I entered her old password was taken to a set of dialogs similar to those I saw in July. The dialogs told me data was successfully migrated. There were bugs of course; Google is supposed to be able to show data associated with her current accounts and that failed. Nonetheless I felt reasonably sure what we cared about had been migrated. So I found the tiny "delete account" link, walked through the warnings process, and deleted the remnants of  her old independent Google/Gmail account.

Then, a few minutes later, I tried logging into Reeder. It worked.

I never changed her Google password and I didn't try two step verification. All I did was delete the remnants of her old account.

I think this Google bug shows up after account mergers between Google Apps and Google/Gmail when the same password was used for both.

No comments: