If you’re like me, you eventually end up with too many identities. I haven’t figured out how to associate different email addresses with a single account, so I have to maintain several different Google identities.
For example a client invites me to join his Google group using his company email, so I have to set up a new account to access and manage that group. At some point I try to consolidate these to use my GMail identity, but that isn’t always possible (the client may for instance have decided to restrict their group to only allow access by people using their corporate domain addresses for instance).
Eventually though, I do end up with accounts that I’m no longer using (and sometimes I just would like a fresh start). Google actually has a link in their help about deleting an account, but it took me a bit to find it, so I thought I’d post a step by step guide.First you must be logged in, so go to one of the Google pages like http://groups.google.com and look for the link at the top right corner of the page that shows you who you are logged in as:
Once you are sure you are logged in with the right account, click the “Account” link and you will be taken to the management page for your account:
Click on the link next to “My Products” that says “Edit” and you’ll go to the accounts page, where you can choose to remove your web history OR account:
Click the link that says “Close account and delete all services associated with it”, and you’ll get the delete account screen, which has a number of options and validate with your password. Unless you want to keep a membership in a group, check all of the boxes here, then hit the button that says “Delete Google account“:
Once you have done this, you’ll get a screen that tells you that the account has been deleted:
The last couple of days, I’ve been involved in setting up a new non-profit entity and email addresses for the people involved. I used my hosting service to create a new domain, and set up email addresses that forward to their existing email addresses.
What I realized was that I didn’t have an easy way to set up a email aliases, and I needed a way to forward email to the entire group.
Naturally I thought of Google Groups, which lets you set up a sort of discussion board and file sharing area. My team has been using groups for other purposes, and one of the things we learned was that if you keep the group private, it can become confusing as people add their email aliases to the member list so that they can post from their various accounts.
So for this new group, I decided to set it up to only use the email addresses from the new entity, and allow posting to the group by any email address. By doing this, anybody can send an email to email@example.com and it will get sent to the group, effectively creating an alias.
This also keeps the group relatively clean, since the only addresses that show up in the members list are the ones that are connected to the new domain. On other groups I’ve managed, I end up with people with lots of different entries because they have multiple email addresses which can be confusing.
Without signing in, the group can now send email to “all” with a single email address. Of course that doesn’t take advantage of the file sharing and other group features, so what follows are instructions on how to create a login for a new email address which will allow logging into the group.
Step 2 – Creating a new Google login for your email address
First, if you already have a Google login, you want to make sure you are logged out. Go to a Google page like If you are logged in, you will see your login information at the top right corner of the page.
If you are not logged in, or after you click on the “Sign out” link, you will see just the “Help” and “Sign in” links like this:
Now you are ready to create the account. Start by clicking the “Sign in” link, which will take you to a sign-in form that looks like this:
Since we are creating a new account, we click on the “Create an account now”. Note that if you have an existing account, this won’t do anything to that account, you are simply creating a new account separate from the original. You will now see the account creation form:
The form is self explanatory, all you have to do is fill in the fields, type the distorted word on the page, and agree to the terms of service, then submit.
Next you’ll see the account creation verification screen, which will tell you that the account was created and must be verified. You need to check your email for the message, which has a link that validates the email goes to you.
Once you validate, you should once again be able to log in, and see your new login name in the upper right corner of the page:
So for the people in my group, once they create a new Google account with the correct email, they will have access to the Google group that I created, and be able to share files, etc. By setting up the group to allow anybody to post, they can post from their other email addresses, and receive the email on their new address.
You can also delete the account (or any other) should you decide you no longer want or need it, but that is for another day.
One of the things I always struggle with as a project manager is how to communicate availability. If I’m using a corporate email system like Exchange, it is extremely easy to set up calendars to be shared, and everybody using that system has the ability to at least see your free/busy status which helps in setting up meetings.But when you’re dealing with a disparate group, who don’t have access to the same information, figuring out meetings can be difficult. I manage some of this complexity with tools like Plaxo and MobileMe, which allow you to keep calendars in synch across a variety of calendar systems, including Google, Yahoo and even the local calendar application.
This doesn’t solve the problem of how to check on availability however. What I’ve always found most effective inside the corporate firewall is to make my calendar public, and to ask my team members to share their calendars as well. This allows me not only to quickly schedule meetings, but gives me insight into what sorts of meetings my team is scheduling, and how they are managing their time.
So, on the outside of the firewall, I have started using Google Groups and Google Calendar to acheive some of the same effect. First I set up a Google Group to give me an alias for the team. It also gives us some basic collaboration tools, web access to messages, and a place share files. Then I set up a Google Calendar with the same name as the Group. There’s no requirement to do this, but it’s convenient to have a calendar where you can put group events, and keeping the name consistent makes life easier.
Once you have a group calendar created, it will show up in your calendars list along with any other calendars you have created. If you added the group email alias to the sharing list during creation, then everybody in your group will have been notified that they have access to the calendar. Alternatively you could simply email all of the individuals in the group.
Once you have the members in the group, you can share your calendar with them by using the “Share Calendar” by choosing it from the menu that pops up when you click on the little inverted triangle next to your calendar (in this case I’m sharing my personal calendar, you would do the same for the group calendar):
Once you choose this option, you will be taken to the “Share this Calendar” tab of the settings for that calendar:
First thing that I do is to make sure the “Make this calendar public” check box is ticked, this allows your calendar to be seen by others. You can also set the “Share only my free/busy information (Hide details)” tick mark if you want to hide the specifics of your calendar. Once that is done, everybody can see my calendar.
Even if you don’t make your calendar public, you can send an invitation to share your calendar, by typing in an email address. So to notify your group that they can access your calendar, you can either invite them individually, or type in the email address of the group.
They should then get a nice invite from Google Groups that tells them your calendar is available, and can add it to their “Other Calendars” list.
The calendars in this list get added to your calendar with different colors, so at a glance you can see what events go with which calendar. You can toggle which calendar events display by clicking on the name of each calendar (when the background is white, the events are not show). Below is a shot of my calendar with the group and Laura’s calendar showing:
As you can see, Laura chose to share only her free/busy time, so all I see is that she’s busy between 5 and 6:30
The last step is to ask for access to your team member’s calendars. To do this you click on the “Add” link at the bottom of the “Other Calendars”.
This takes you to the screen where you enter the email address of the person that you’d like to ask for access to their calendar. If the address isn’t a GMail address, it will also prompt you to invite them.
Once they have accepted, you will have access to their calendar, and it will appear in your “Other Calendars” list (as Laura’s does in mine).
Because the group and calendar are not integrated, you will have to add any new members (or change or delete) in both places, but in essence this gives you access to what you need to help make meeting scheduling easier.