As some of my faithful readers may have noticed, I got married last year and changed my name. I've been waiting forever to change my Gmail address and finally bit the bullet today. It's a ton of work, and so infuriating.
Google doesn't want to cheapen their status and invite spammers by offering unlimited email addresses, a la Hotmail or Yahoo mail. So if you have a gmail address (and accompanying Google identity) already, it's damn hard to transfer your stuff to another one. They figure, you should have the same address for life. They figure, you're a guy. Or maybe a gal who doesn't change her name at marriage. They wholesale forgot all about all the women who change their name when they get married (crazy stat here).
Let me explain. Open up a Gmail account if you've been using Yahoo, and you can "fetch" over all your old email no problem. There it all will appear in your new Gmail account, like magic. But try doing this from one Gmail account to another? You're out of luck, this isn't allowed. But it's fine to just have your old email open in a different window right? Nope. You can't be logged in to two different Google accounts at once in the same browser (workaround - use firefox and ie).
If you're an avid Google user, like me, you're sure to have hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of active shared documents in your Google docs, all shared with many other people. But can you transfer them at one fell swoop to your new identity? No way. You must go into your old identity and go through each one and "share" them with your new identity in order to have access. Have other people given you access to their calendars? Now you must request that they give access to your new Google identity.
Do you, like me, manage AdWords accounts for multiple clients? Prepare to go into all of them and transfer ownership to the new you. Did you have extensive RSS feeds in your Google Reader? Get ready to make them all from scratch under your new identity or share them from your old identity. Are you, like me, managing Google Analytics for bunches of clients? You're out of luck! Add your new self to each and every one. Do you have some vanity email addresses (domains you own, school or family emails) that forward to your old Google ID? You could have them forward and then forward again from your old ID, or you could re-forward each of them to cut out the layers.
Whew how much does that suck? Google engineers, get a clue! The world isn't made up exclusively of men!
It's wonderful that Google is so helpful that I want to use them to manage every aspect of my professional life. It sucks that they can't figure out that there is a valid exception to their rule that you should have one Google ID for life.