Google Account Conflicts

We are planning to pilot a Google Apps domain this spring. One issue to tackle is conflicts between the new school Apps accounts and existing personal accounts. Many users have set up personal Google accounts using their email addresses. When we launch the Apps domain, these users will see the following message the next time that they log in.

It will be important to communicate well about this transition before the launch. Once users clear the above hurdle, will they be able to migrate their content or favorites into their Apps accounts? If not, how much inconvenience will this cause them? At worst, active users will suddenly have two accounts, an old account with a new address and a second, new one with their address. How many people will find themselves in this situation?


  1. Jac says:

    With 140 accounts, we had 37 people who faced this issue. Using the provided Google message templates, we had only 3 people who required extra assistance in the transition.

    One issue you may face, as we did, is that I (a teacher) cannot ask a student under 13 to create an email account. For those students who already created a personal Gmail account using their school log-in (which wasn’t endorsed by the school) you’ll want to contact their parents to help them set up a personal account for the transition.

    It’s a delicate balance between the early adopters who require no transition and late majority who now have to make the switch. Both have their advantages.

  2. Richard says:

    Jac, thanks for the helpful stats.

    How can a student create a GMail account using a non-GMail email address? Does the recovery email address trigger a conflict?

    Did any teachers or students express irritation with having to change their old login or being forced to manage multiple Google logins?

  3. Jac says:

    Hi Richard,

    Google now allows you to create an account where your chosen username is actually an email address…you can log into Google using an address if you want. I didn’t do a thorough analysis of the services these accounts had active, but would assume there is no Gmail?

    Our students and faculty use a central homepage, pre-set on all browsers, that provides links to school online services. These links point at the school-specific login pages: e.g., When using these longer URLs, there hasn’t ever been an account login issue. When logging in to the basic using a duplicated account, confusion does arise.

    As for the swap from old to new, we had some trouble with sharing of Documents and Sites permissions. To resolve we downloaded all GDocs to a flash drive and then uploaded them in the new account.

    It is much easier to avoid the Google temp account situation and have students create a new personal Gmail account that isn’t affiliated with the school. Then there is no doubt as to which account is logged in.

    To aid with the transition, our affected folk are using 2 browers: e.g., Safari for personal, Chrome for school account, to reduce confusion. We’ve been doing this training on a one-on-one basis as necessary.