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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Going Deeper Into The Google Apps Rabbit Hole

Comments (23)

Today I concluded that my Gmail experiment is working nicely.  In addition, we figured out (thanks to Dave Michels) how to wire up feld.com to Google Apps without breaking all the other feld.com users that are being served of an Exchange server.  So, breaking rule #1 of all migrations, Ross and I flipped the switch at the end of the day to have my mail end up in my Google Apps account (via feld.com) rather than my Gmail account (via brad.feld@gmail.com).

All of my mail flows nicely.  You can send email to brad@feld.com and it shows up in the right place.  That was good.

But, I hadn’t thought through all my other Google services that are tied to brad.feld@gmail.com.  Contacts was “so-so” – Export/Import but it still feels a little messed up and I can’t figure out why.  But Docs seems like a totally parallel universe, as does Profiles.  And I’ve got a bunch of other services that I use (e.g. Bookmarks, YouTube) that I don’t really feel like having two accounts for.

I searched around for an easy way to “move my brad.feld@gmail.com account over to brad@feld.com in Google Apps.”  There are some mediocre help suggestions about migrating individual services, but nothing that just solved it.

Am I missing something obvious, or is this a non-trivial thing to do.

  • Michael

    Life hacker has a guide, gmail to gmail anyways. Still not an easy proceess

  • Ed Millard

    Gina Tripani might know. She wrote this a while ago which might cover some of what you are doing : http://lifehacker.com/5391537/trick-out-google-ap

  • http://twitter.com/thepartycow @thepartycow

    I definitely feel your pain on this one and have been maintaining 2 different profiles. I would love to hear if you find a solution.

  • http://luisriverag.com luisriverag

    At Okuri we went for the simplest solution, download old stuff via IMAP + forward all emails to our gmail accounts + use "send as"… not as elegant as full migration but could solve your needs

  • http://twitter.com/kevinmarks @kevinmarks

    You're not missing something, google apps on your own domain vs on google is tricky. If you're really unlucky you can end up with 2 google accounts that use the same email address…

  • http://www.audiomicro.com Ryan Born

    You're not missing anything as far as I know. GApps has it's issues, the biggest being the inability to share docs with anyone outside the domain (i.e. feld.com in your case).

    • Jeff

      Ryan – It is possible to share docs with people outside your Google Apps domain. Depending on the configuration, you'll get a warning that asks "are you sure?" when you supply an email address to share with outside your domain. The other caveat is that the recipient's email address needs to be tied to a Google account as well — i.e., they need a Google account of their own to get into Google Docs.

      If that option is blocked for you, then it's at the request of your Google Apps administrator. There's an option in the Google Apps domain dashboard to control whether it's possible to share outside the domain and whether that warning should appear.

  • Tyler Stalder

    It's tricky. Google has been working over the last few months to unify account across the different properties. There isn't a clean way to do it yet and a lot of people have ended up with some mix of google accounts, google apps accounts, and duplicates in each.

    This is the latest news from Google and it links to some helpful ReadWriteWeb articles. http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2010/07/google-a

  • http://www.audiomicro.com Ryan Born

    FYI – In case you have yet to encounter it, there's also an issue with calendar sharing outside the domain

    • Jeff

      Hey Ryan… as mentioned above, that's also an option in the domain dashboard. If it's enabled, then sharing a calendar outside the domain is do-able, both with details and with just the free/busy blocks. Hopefully you can get your domain admin to change it for you.

      • http://pharmastrategyblog.com sally

        Interesting, I'm still trying to figure that one out! Despite being the Apps Domain admin, any Calendar App shares just appear as "busy' even on my own Gcal calendar, which is useless. I've ended up sharing my teams diaries in Gcal nicely, but even I can't see my own diary from G Apps in Gcal, quite funny really.

        If there are some good instructions lurking on the internet for revealing your own G Apps calendar in Gcal, I'd love to see them!

      • http://www.audiomicro.com Ryan Born

        Jeff – you are the man! thanks for the tip. works like a charm now…I retract my earlier comment. Docs sharing outside the domain is totally possible.

  • PaulS

    Personally, I made two changes after going to google apps that solved the problem for me:

    First, log into your Google Apps email, select settings > Accounts and add your gmail account as one you can “Send mail as” Personally, I always reply from the address it was sent to, but if you want to maintain a single entity you can pick your best option. There’s a quick step you have to complete to prove you own the account, but then it’s done.

    Second, go into your gmail account > settings > Forwarding and POP/IMAP. Forward a copy of incoming mail to your Google Apps. Archive if you wish, but you probably won’t need to come back to this account.

  • DaveJ

    Sometimes it seems to help if I'm logged into both accounts at once. Sometimes.

  • http://www.crashutah.com John Lynn

    Definitely is an issue. Sometimes it gets really annoying since your Google Apps account isn’t really a Google Account. It’s like a partial google account. Works for some services, but not all of them. It seems like they’re working to fix this issue. Lately they’ve been trying to do some “fast user switching” between multiple accounts which seems like the next step to solving the problem.

    The one I think they’ll never fix though is Google Adsense/Adwords. Plus, when I’m logged into those, it sometimes hijacks my google calendar login.

    A minor annoyance though compared to the benefits.

    • Jeff

      I agree… the benefits are worth it. It is a hassle, though, sometimes to deal with the issue of "is this the APPS me@example.com account or the REGULAR me@example.com account"? Probably not ideal, but for now I resolve it by keeping the password for both of them the same (complex and secure, but still the same). At least then when one of the "regular" services asks for credentials (like Reader, Voice, etc) then I don't have to figure out which account it's asking about.

      It sounds like they're working to make this more seamless/integrated this fall, which will be good… probably a tricky transition, but better in the long run. The only places where I've had problems with the Apps experience have been around the whole Apps/Gmail distinction. For now, an account on Apps isn't a full-class citizen in the Google world.

  • http://twitter.com/magnusvk @magnusvk

    Having a Google Apps account is particularly annoying when it comes to Google Docs and Google Calendar. I have all kinds of issues with this: shared calendars I can't seem to add to my list, docs that have two different accounts in my name as owners and depending on whether I sign into the "normal" Google Docs or my apps Google Docs, I can edit the document or not, shared documents that don't show up in my list: it's a pretty big mess and has been for quite a while. There are rumors here and there that Google is working on this but it has already taken them quite a while. Also, you are getting all new features in Gmail after everybody else: IMAP took weeks, Google Buzz is still not there, we are still on the old interface. This has gotten to the point where I am seriously considered re-migrating my account back to the normal Gmail and just using my domain address as alias (and setting up Gmail so that I can send from that address).

    • http://pharmastratgyblog.com sally

      That pretty much explains my experience too, very frustrating!

      Paying for Google Apps and getting an inferior service to the free Gmail sucks sometimes. Many of the integration issues really should have been sorted prior to rollout.

  • http://www.facebook.com/casnocha Ben Casnocha

    As has been said, the Google support philosophy on matters such as these is: "Go fuck yourself and here's a forum to help."

    Migrating accounts and logins on Google services is such a pain in the ass…

  • mtupper

    I believe I have this solved, but I am not sure, since I haven't noticed the problem… but try this:

    From the @gmail account, goto Settings / Accounts and Import / Google Account Settings

    There is an option for multiple sign-on on this "Google Accounts" page. This may not recognize/include gApps domain emails.

    I remember before, I had and option to "Link Accounts" which I deactivated after a while, because I personally preferred to maintain the two completely separate, but I don't see that option here anymore. I could be mistaken, its all a little hazey.

  • http://gregcohn.com/blog Greg Cohn

    FWIW the same issue exists with Apple, for people who set up mobileme accounts after having previously set up iTunes accounts. You can do all of the functions under a single account (mail, idisk storage, syncing of calendar & contacts, purchasing music, etc), but it's difficult-to-impossible to merge two.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1502650902 Patrick Leonard

    Brad,
    Here's how I solved the personal Gmail / work Google mail config:
    1. I kept separate personal Gmail / work Google mail accounts
    2. I shared my personal and work google calendars to myself so that I can see both from either account (my Android phone can see both too)
    3. I have google Docs in both accounts and I keep them separate by design (google asks me which account I want to use to access docs, so this works pretty well)

    Contacts doesn't seem to work well – that's a frustrating one. Export to CSV and import to the other account is the only way I know of.

    not sure about the other services that you are using but some of that will get into the "non-trivial".

  • http://www.crashutah.com John Lynn

    Today I came across the blog post Google did about making Google Apps accounts to work for other Google applications: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/05/more

    I'm sure you'll want to try the link at the bottom to do the early beta test.

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