Fixing the Google Account problem

Every so often you experience a technical problem you can’t find any information about and which takes you forever to solve. Then, after you finally solve it, you are left scratching your head saying, “I don’t get it­—there must be millions of people with this problem—why is there so little information about it?”

Once before, back in 1991, I ran into such a problem with Windows 3.0. After finally solving it, I shared my solution with my friend Seattle Times tech columnist Paul Andrews. He published it in his column, and it turned out that thousands of people had the same problem but nobody understood quite what was happening. So that’s why there was so little information about it.

Now 20 years later, even though we’ve got the Internet and Google and all, I’ve just been through the same experience. And the irony? The problem is with none other than Google accounts—the very accounts that we need from this search giant to access many of the services it offers.

Over the holidays I finally bore down, worked the problem all the way through, and solved it. And throughout the process I was consistently stunned to find so little information available about it, either from Google or anywhere else.

So this time around I’m being proactive about it and publishing the solution right here so it will be easy for anyone to reference. (And, of course, for Google’s own search engine to find — the Internet brings new heights to irony.)

Warning: read this all the way through. The easy fixes are also the ones you may live to regret.

The Problem

  1. A friend shares a Google doc with you.
  2. You receive an email containing a link to this Google doc.
  3. When you click on the link, you are prompted to log into your Google account, but once you do, you can’t get access to the doc because the email address that the friend used is not the same email address you used to originally create your Google account.

Arrggh! (That’s an exact quote from an email I just received from a friend for whom I’m solving this problem by writing this blog post!)

The Simple Solution That Will Get You In Trouble

There is a simple solution for which I thank George Fletcher of AOL, who first explained it to me and others on the OpenID mailing list who were having this problem a few years ago.

The solution is: register a new Google account under the email address that your friend used to share the Google doc with you.

It’s very easy…BUT…read the warning afterwards as to why it’s a red herring.

  1. Go to
  2. If you are signed in, sign out (top right corner).
  3. On the next screen (the plain jane Google home screen), click the Sign in link in the top right corner.
  4. On that screen, underneath the login box on the right, click the link “Don’t have a Google account? Create an account now”.
  5. Even though you may already have a Google account, enter the email address you want to register for another Google account (the one your friend sent the Google doc too).
  6. Confirm the email address via the standard process.
  7. When you are done, log in using to this new Google account (using the email address you just registered, not the one for your other Google account).
  8. Go to Google Docs (
  9. The Google Doc your friend shared with you will be on the list.

Yes, it’s that simple. BUT…

The New Problem This Creates

The reason NOT to solve the problem this way, to which I can attest by long and painful experience, is that while you will now have access to all the Google docs shared with you…you will also have to log in and log back out of each of your different Google accounts in order to access the different sets of Google docs shared with you under your different email addresses.

This might seem like a small pain at first, but believe me, after the 500th time you will be wishing there was a better way.

There is.

The Better Solution…That Still Isn’t the Right Answer

The “better way” is a standard feature of almost any identity or directory system: aliases. (Disclaimer: I’m in the Internet identity business, so this is the kind of stuff I deal with all the time.) In an identity or directory context, an “alias” is just an alternate name for the same account. And in fact Google accounts supports aliases. What’s interesting, though, is that: a) they don’t call them “aliases”, and b) aliases for Google accounts are completely different than aliases for Gmail accounts.

Gmail accounts, you ask? What’s the difference between a Google account and a Gmail account?

Therein lies a whole ‘nother can of worms (and possibly the reason there is so little information about the Google account problem).

Let me start by explaining the difference (as best I understand it – this WHOLE BLOG POST is an open invitation for the good folks at Google to correct any of my misunderstandings and provide better explanations).

First, a Google account and a Gmail account are not exactly the same thing. The first rule is: every Gmail account is a Google account, but NOT every Google account is a Gmail account.

In other words, if you have a Google account that is NOT a Gmail address, then you have a Google account that is NOT a Gmail account.

The second rule is: BOTH a Google account AND a Gmail address can have an alias. BUT THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING, AND NEITHER CALLS THEM ALIASES.

I am not making this up. An alias on a Google account (and remember, every Gmail account IS also a Google account) is another name for the entire Google account. But for Gmail, an alias is ONLY an alternate email address that you can send or receive email from using your Gmail account. A GMAIL ALIAS IS NOT A GOOGLE ACCOUNT ALIAS. A GOOGLE ACCOUNT ALIAS IS NOT A GMAIL ALIAS.

Is that clear as mud?

Now, adding an alias to a Gmail account is quite easy, remarkably powerful (most people have no idea how much flexibility Gmail offers to manage your email for any number of email accounts), and surprisingly poorly documented. I just spent 10 minutes searching Gmail for help on this just to see if there was a Gmail help page I could just link to.


So here’s how.

Instructions for Adding an Alias to Your Gmail Account (but NOT for your Google Account Even If It Is a Gmail Account!)

  1. Login to your Gmail account.
  2. Click the Settings link in the top right.
  3. Click the Accounts and Import tab.
  4. In the second section, Send mail as, click the button labelled, Send mail from another address.
  5. Enter the email address as instructed.
  6. Google will send you an email with a link you must click to verify you own the address.
  7. Go to that mail account, find the mail, click the link (it all takes about 30 seconds).

You’re done. Go back to your Gmail Settings page, click the Accounts and Import tab, and the new email address will be listed in the Send mail as section. You can now send email from this email address by choosing it in the “From” drop down box in Gmail. (See the help link for more info about the different ways you can send mail from a Gmail alias.)

You can add as many email adddresses as aliases to your Gmail account as you want (at least I couldn’t find documentation about a limit). But keep in mind that all of these will ONLY be Gmail account aliases, not Google account aliases — and having them as Gmail aliases does nothing to solve the Google account problem.

So you have to go through a different process — even with the same set of email addresses — to make them Google account aliases. (For example, I have the same four email addresses as BOTH Gmail aliases and Google account aliases.)

The following instructions apply for adding an alias to ANY Google account (whether or not it is a Gmail account), BUT—and this is a big BUT—if your Google account is NOT a Gmail account, keep reading afterwards about why this can come back to bite you.

Instructions for Adding an Alias to Any Google Account (Even If It Is a Gmail Account)

  1. Go to That is the home page for configuring any Google account. If you’re currently logged into Google, Google figures out which Google account you are using via a cookie in your browser. If you’re not logged in, they’ll prompt you to login, and the Google account you will be configuring is based on the email address you use to login.
  2. Once you are logged in, confirm it is the correct Google account by checking the email address in black text at the very top of the page (on the left side of the block of links in the top right corner). If this is the right account, proceed. If this is not the right account, meaning you want to add an alias to a different Google account, then sign out (upper right corner), then sign back in under the email address for that different Google account.
  3. Under Personal Settings in the top center of the page, the entry at the bottom of the column will be Email addresses. If you have not yet added any aliases to this Google account, you will see only one email address—the same email address as at the top of the page. It will have the grey words (Primary email) next to it. This is the “primary key” for this Google account. You can’t change it! See the warning below.
  4. To add an alias (do you see the word “alias” anywhere near here? Or anywhere on this screen? Does Google give you any clue that this is where you should go to access such a feature??), click the Edit link below this email address.
  5. On the next screen (, you will see two blocks: Edit personal information and Add an alternate email address to your account. You want this second block.
  6. At the bottom of this second block is a text box labeled: Add an additional email address. Enter the email address you want to add as an alias (the one to which your friend shared the Google doc you can’t access) and click Save.
  7. The next screen will tell you that you’ve been sent an email to verify that address.
  8. When you receive the email, click the link in the email.

Congratulations, you have just set up that email address to be an alias for your existing Google account.

The benefits?

  1. It no longer matters which of your two email addresses your friends share a Google doc with. Either way, the Google doc they shared will show up in your Google docs dashboard at As far as I know, this is true for all the email addresses you add as an alias (again, I don’t know if there is a limit).
  2. You no longer have to log in and out of two different Google accounts. All your Google docs will be there in your one master account. Hooray!

Now for the final gotcha. You can do all the above and still end out with a royal headache one day because of the following rule Google explains when you register an alias as described above:

You can use alternate email addresses to sign in to your Google Account, recover your password, and more. Alternate email addresses can only be associated with one Google Account at a time.

In other words, for good security reasons, you can only add an email address as an alias to one Google account at a time. On the surface that doesn’t appear to be an issue…until you circle back to what I explained above…that every Gmail address is also a Google account. By simple deductive logic, you arrive at this conclusion:

You cannot add a Gmail address as an alias to ANY Google account!

In other words, at Google, all email addresses can all serve as primary keys for Google accounts BUT only only non-Gmail accounts can serve as an alias (a secondary key).

So it boils down to this: if have a Gmail account, or ever plan to get one, then you are forcing yourself into the multiple-Google account problem for life UNLESS…

you make your Gmail account your primary Google account.

Yup, that’s the secret. As long as you make your primary Google account a Gmail account, you’ll never have the problem of wanting to use Gmail but finding yourself forced into the multiple-Google account problem.

What To Do If You Already Have the Multiple Google Account Problem

Okay, say you’ve already fallen into this trap. You did what I did several years ago: created your own non-Gmail Google account using a non-Gmail email address so you could access Google docs under that email address. Then later you started using Gmail, and so now you have at least two Google accounts (and maybe more). And people are constantly sharing Google docs with you under one or the other of the two (or more) email addresses, and you are driving yourself nuts logging in and out of Google trying to remember which email address was used to share which Google doc.

But you CAN’T take your non-Gmail email address and make it an alias to your Gmail Google account (as I advise) because your non-Gmail address is already a Google account.

How do you fix it?

The answer is: a) completely undocumented (at least I couldn’t find it), and b) scary as hell.

That’s why I’m writing this blog post. There’s no reason Google needs to make this so hard. Why they haven’t written it up in one of their generally decent Help articles I have no clue. I even wrote one of my identity friends at Google to ask him. His answer was essentially, “This is just too hard for most users to understand.”

Well, that may be true, but IMHO it’s not a reason to withhold the documentation. The users who are experiencing the problem are highly motivated to understand it, and in fact the solution is pretty easy once you know what it is.

It’s just scary.

In brief, the way to make a non-Gmail Google account an alias for your Gmail account is to first delete the non-Gmail Google account.

Completely. Kaput. Gone. Which, as you might suspect, would ordinarily mean YOU LOSE EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH THAT ACCOUNT.

How’s that for a scary thought? Honestly, that’s why I held off fixing this for so long. Who wants to bother with working around that?

Luckily, the workaround is not that hard once you know what it is and you are sure it is going to work. That’s the other reason I’m writing this blog post: I could not find anything posted anywhere – or even get it confirmed by those I knew at Google – that this procedure would work and everything would be okay in the end.

But I finally got so tired of the problem that I just did it, and I’m happy to say it works just fine.

So: please read and follow the instructions below carefully. I don’t want anyone coming back and telling me that they lost precious data because of my advice that they delete their Google account.

Part One: Share (or Otherwise Backup) All the Data in the Google Account

  1. First, make sure you have at least one other Google account (preferably a Gmail account—see above—however this procedure should work with any other Google account. In these instructions I’ll assume this other account is a Gmail account.)
  2. Go to the home page of the Google Account you want to delete at
  3. Make sure this is the account you want to delete by checking the correct email address in black text at left end of the links at the very top of the page.
  4. Under Personal Settings, click on the Dashboard link (second one down) called “View data stored with this account”.
  5. This helpful utility (created for personal privacy management) will show you all the data you have at Google associated with this account. Now comes the hard part. You need to go through every Google service on this list, then go through any associated documents or data files for each of those services, and share them with your Gmail account. Even more importantly, if you are the owner any document/file, then transfer ownership to your Gmail account. If you don’t own a document/file (someone else shared it with you), don’t worry, you can’t lose it when you delete this Google account. But, as long as you have Edit privileges on the document/file, share it with your Gmail account just so you don’t have to go back to the original owner and ask them to reshare it later. If whomever shared it with you DIDN’T give you Edit privileges, just contact them and have them share it again with your Gmail account.
  6. Did I say do this for EVERY document/file in EVERY Google service you use? Go back to your Personal Dashboard and check it again.
  7. IMPORTANT: as a final check, log into your Gmail account and VERIFY that all the docs are shared. If you own the document/file, VERIFY that your Gmail account is the new owner.
  8. Check everything one more time. If you are unsure than anything has been shared and will not go “poof” when you delete this Google account, just download a copy to your local hard drive (or email it to your Gmail account). Like I said, never come back to me and say you lost any Google data because of this blog post.

Part Two: Delete the Google Account

  1. Go back to the home page for the Google account you want to delete:
  2. MAKE SURE this is the right Google account by confirming the email address in black at left end of the links at the very top of the page.
  3. Next to the My products header (the second horizontal section down the page), click the Edit link. This should take you to
  4. The second option on the page is to Delete Account. Choose that option and follow the instructions to confirm you want to permanently delete this account (and wipe that sweat off your brow). Seriously, if you’ve shared or backed up all the files associated with this account, you’ve nothing to fear. It’s just like reformatting a hard drive <ouch>.

Once you’re done, take a deep breath. Wait 15 minutes. (I don’t know if you actually have to wait this long, but I figured it’s long enough to wait for Google’s servers to go through all their account deletion machinations.)

Part Three: Add The Alias to Your Primary Google Account

  1. Log back in to your Gmail account (or whichever Google account you want to make your primary).
  2. Follow the instructions earlier in this blog post to add the email address (for the Google account you just deleted) as an alias to this Google account.
  3. Once Google confirms it as an alias, you’re done.

Problem solved.

Why It’s Still Not Perfect: A Final Warning

It’s worth pointing out that privacy, not just security, can be an issue with account aliases. Sometimes you don’t want someone to know you are using Gmail address to do all this cool stuff. But if your Gmail account is your primary Google account (as I advise), then take note of the following warning:

Note: In some Google services, if you share your alternate email address with your contacts, they might be able to learn your primary email address.

In short, Google hasn’t fully figured out yet how to provide you with completely separate personas on the Web. In my personal opinion, they would be well-advised to do so. It’s not easy — acheiving this level of privacy can be as hard as acheiving corresponding levels of security. But Google has the talent and, I believe, the motivation to attain this goal. I hope they consider it soon.


About Drummond Reed

Internet entrepreneur in identity, personal data, and governance frameworks
This entry was posted in Accounts, General, Privacy. Bookmark the permalink.

116 Responses to Fixing the Google Account problem

  1. Subhajit Bhar says:

    I got a problem with my Android phn with gmail account. Unfortunately I add my office account with my own gmail account ( may be it was from manage account option). After that both the accounts allways open in my phon when I was connected to net. I want to remove that office account from mine. How I mange it? Please suggest.

    • Subhajit, I wish I could help but I’m working overtime on a long-term solution to Internet identity. Managing Google accounts has become an industry in itself. Try searching other forums for advice on your issue.

  2. Mary says:

    I just stumbled on this as I am beating my brains out trying to get my not-for-profit onto Google to use Google for Nonprofits. It seems that some old accounts we have, as I’m an early adopter and had us on AdWords from day one, are starting to mess up our conversion to using gmail for our mail application and server. We also used YouTube long before it was bought by Google and have an account there. All of this adds up to a big identity mess that Google, of course, won’t bother to support as we are such small fry. Although we were big supporters of AdWords at the beginning–and spent money advertising our programs–doesn’t that count for something? Oh well! 🙂

    I’m very sad to find out the only way to fix this is to wipe out our old legacy accounts–or at least I think that’s the solve? It is particularly painful for us because… we can’t wipe out the account on AdWords because we can’t log into AdWords because we lost the password and Google will only respond to the email we used to log into AdWords as a Gmail identity, which it is not as there was no Gmail at that time! The system amusingly asks us to remember the last time we logged in, hahaha, not for years! and when we made the account… which was probably early 2001. So stuck it is looking like our organization is going to have to turn to someone else for email services, which we’re really sad about.

    But if anyone has had this problem of being an early Google adopter, get in touch with me at — thanks!

  3. Mary says:

    PS: I am super-grateful posted this because it is now clear to me what the issue is. It is frustrating to know the truth–which to me looks like Google wants to force us all to have our identity their way and give up our legacy YouTube accounts, and so on. As a user? I never like being forced. I like being convinced whatever the change is that the experience I can opt and change to is actually more valuable to me–so much so that I’ll trade off to have it. I think that this is the real reason Google was not publishing the docs that users “won’t understand.” Oh, we understand. All too well.

  4. jecamartinez says:

    Thanks for this! Good thing I only made that new Google account for my non-google email this morning, so I didnt really have anything important in it when I deleted it.
    My question is how do I get a profile picture to show up when I reply using my email alias? I have a custom non-google email with my domain name, and I’ve already connected it to my gmail so I can reply from there. But when I reply, the profile picture shows us as that gray silhouette. Do I really need to get a Google plus account just to have a profile picture show up? Thanks!

    • jecamartinez says:

      OH WAIT! Your method just worked for me! I can’t believe I wasted several hours Googling this -_- THANK YOU SO MUCH

      • Glad it was helpful. I’m amazed at how many people continue to read this post even though it’s five years old. Google accounts are still giving people problems. (And Google keeps working on it. Digital identity is hard.)

    • Hi, I’m having the same problem, I only can se the gray silhouette, how can I solve this?
      Thanks in advance 🙂

  5. stibnite says:

    My issue is an employee grabbed my phone and logged into his Google/Picasa account to access some photos to show me. A service I was not actively using.

    Then, after he left, every photo I took started automatically downloading to his account.

    I figured out how to log it out. Now, however, the bar on my phone cannot be disabled that requests to log back into his account. At first, it just kwpt coming back after I moved it off. Now, it is just locked. I am so sick of seeing his email requesting to be logged in. Especially since I don’t have his password info.

    There seems to be no way to remove or didable it from my device. I have searched for hours and see no solution.

    I will never let anyone log into any such service on my phone ever again.

    Grrr oogl!

  6. David says:

    Wow not that was an awesome explanation! Thanks

  7. I am having a nightmare problem. I lost my entire Gmail account on October 21 from my I phone 6. I brought the phone6 and Mac Book Pro to the Store, The trouble started when I traded my I 4 for my I 6 phone. I had forgotten my password and cannot recoup anything. I still have no Email. I have no way of reaching anyone at Google.
    At this point Im ready to get rid ao all Apple products and of G mail.
    If you have any suggestions I would greatly appreciate. I read your above solutions. I am not half as savy as you. Im lost.
    Y0u can reach me by text I HAVE NO EMAIL
    THE EMAIL I ENTERED IS NOT WORKING It is the email I lost

    • Rosalyn, I am so sorry to hear what happened. I know how painful it is to lose an account, and Google has added several account recovery features to prevent issues like the one you are having. However you must set them up BEFORE you lose access to your account.

      I wish I knew of a way to recover your Gmail account, but I don’t know of any right now. My only suggestion is to see if you can locate a paid support service for Gmail…but I did a little searching online and could not find one. If anyone reading this comment knows of one, please reply.

    • Consider a more relaxed approach.
      Open a new gmail account. Tell just the people you want to communicate with your new address. With care this account will never receive much spam.
      Open another gmail account that you use more widely. This will be the one that eventually gets spam.

  8. If someone gets to this post, they’ve already spent way too much time trying to figure out this account/gmail/alias issue. In my case, I wanted to add my personal domain email address to my google account so when someone sends me an invite at my personal email (which I use all the time and is already an alias in my gmail) I can add it to my google calendar. Turns out I had created a google account with the personal email some time ago and never used it so deleting it was no problem. But when I went to add the email to my google account as an alternate email, the link in the verification email just went to google signin page with 2 accounts shown (I sometimes log into another account). Turns out the verification gets confused and you have to only have one account cached. So I removed the other account, clicked the link in the verification email, and voila it worked! And now I can accept the invite and put it in my google calendar.
    Thanks, Drummond!

  9. Hannah says:

    Thank you, I had just created a new Google account. I read this post, deleted it and added the alias on my ‘real’ Google account. Amazingly clear why and how-to. Thanks

  10. Ania says:

    My Google account has always been tied to an email address that’s not on Gmail. I use that account for Google Calendar, Docs, YouTube, and other Google services. Just not Gmail.

    When I created a Gmail account for my mother, suddenly my Google identity was overtaken by the identity created for her Gmail account. Argh! Calendar invitations to friends, documents in collaboration with colleagues, you get the picture.

    The solution was to delete the Gmail account. Identity associated with all of my Google services returned to their initial state. Thanks for your guidance on how to undo the mess. As scary as it was, it worked. I did not loose documents on drive, my calendar was back to normal, etc…

  11. Ad says:

    just have your friend send the doc to your google account, or register your non-gmail email as a google account…

  12. Eshan Majumdar says:


  13. Joel Chawdick says:

    Mr. Drummond, this is a fantastic article. Since it was from 2010, I’m curious if anything has changed. I think my issue falls into the category of the blog post, but want to make sure from you. I have a non-gmail Google account created years ago. Let’s call it I did not have a smart phone at that time. In 2013 I did move to an Android smartphone and while installing Google apps I somehow created Somehow along the way I merged those accounts and I can now login to the same Google account with either username. Obviously I cannot use for Gmail, but I would like to add as a Gmail address but cannot. Usually I end up with “Sorry, a Gmail address is not allowed to be the primary address of this account.” Or I get the “that username already exists” messages. So right now I have no gmail address to actually get to and want one. Which one of your blog posts would allow me to get to actually use Gmail? Another funny thing is when logged in to Google account and I try to add as an alternate email address, it says a verification has been sent to abc123@gmail that doesn’t really exist.

    Thanks for any answer at all!

    • Joel, your situation sounds very puzzling indeed. I can’t say if anything has changed since I first did this post (7+ years ago), but it sounds like you have one of the problems it addresses. The one thing I can say is that I’ve never heard of a Gmail address that didn’t actually work for Gmail. So maybe I would start there – see if you can just access your Gmail account by logging in with your Gmail address. If you can do that, follow the instructions in my blog post to straighten the rest out.



  14. Peter Joseph says:

    Well, since I’ve just been a fisherman all my life – I find it quite heartening that all you “egg heads” are having a prick of a time with it as well. I did, however, work as a draftsman for my fathers design engineering company as a kid and I do know flawed design when I see it. And a system that requires a person to have to sign up for a new account for every app, theme & extension they get, is cumbersome annoying & insecure. – I actually found life a whole lot simpler when we just used scraps of paper!

  15. ilayaraja says:

    i recovered my gmail account from “Sorry, Google doesn’t recognize that email” problem. Lot of thanks

  16. Aline Wilkins says:

    I need help my daughter changed my password and I can’t access my Google account this account hold very important e-mails for jobs my family photos and all my contacts please help me every time I try to reset it says that Google doesn’t recognize my recovery account

    • Aline, I wish I could help you but I don’t know any way for you to reach Google to restore your account if they don’t recognized your recovery account (maybe your daughter changed that too?)

    • Alazon says:

      I change my password all the time. Nothing changes in my account – gmails, photos,etc. Why can’t you just use the password she changed it to and then you ought to be able to access all and change your password back as well.? Just sayin..

  17. vicki says:

    I get what your saying and I dont. I do believe it is a problem I’m having though. After factory reset in may my ph didn’t come back as new. It came back with a few older goofle apps. They couldn’t “see” my phone, kept telling me to lock, wipe it. And a new name appeared with a picture? It’s been since may abd I can’t download or update any app. I don’t have wifi or pc so samsung won’t help restore my phone. The weird thing was this version of my name came up the 1st time I looked at g+. Picture was the only one I had ever shared. So on chrome it has my gmail name , I thought was was my account, from what I understand of your explanation, but the certain is under neith and it asks if I want to add it. Funny part is just tonight I realized that it has been made my account I’m pretty sure, now my email isn’t and they won’t go together as they are a signed to something else. ?? I see my ph is locked yet they list the same ph as a secondary ph but because my original email, was gmail, and I thought was my account …… I think that’s why I’ve been locked out of play store. Could it be. I really don’t know how to fix it and after eight months of trying I’m so passed tears and trying. I will though get my brain wrapped around this some how as I’m pissed as hell at Google for how they’ve done me. I’ve sent a book of feedback. They’ve never reply ed once. There’s so much more to this but thank you for your hard work. I think I understand now why I can’t sign anything into the black page google accounts anymore. Cause they made me a new account it’s just not connected to my email, which is fine. Its an alias and not my name. I understood when I signed up that we had to use our names and I hated doing that, but I did. By way of factory reset gone wrong I no longer have my name spread eveeywhere. I wish I could make them see my phone though. No gallery photos, games fb etc makes for a boring phone. Weird to its using over 12 gigs a month and best I can do is google now. So I’m really wondering whose using my data? Thanks vicki. no email associated lol thank you so much

    • Vicki, it sounds like a pretty complex set of problems. I wrote this blog post 6 years ago, and Google’s account infrastructure is continually evolving, so I hope it’s still helpful. Good luck with your situation.

  18. Jason Eisner says:

    Thanks for this clearly documented post — I hadn’t known whether it was possible to add an alternate email address to a Google Account.

    One update: if you have to delete an old Google Account (as I did), there’s now a helpful tool to download a single zip file with a backup of all the associated data.

    • Jason, thanks for the note. Indeed, IMHO Google’s privacy control panel is quite good. Unfortunately just downloading your data doesn’t mean you can actually do anything with it, i.e., it’s not really something you are actively being given control over. Actually having your own self-sovereign identity on the Internet (that you completely own and control) and control over your personal data is a paradigm shift that is finally starting to emerge. Check out

  19. randunn says:

    @Drummond Reed –

    Like you, I am amazed and impressed that this article is still widely viewed after so long. With that being said, I am turning to you after multiple fruitless attempts at getting any resolution. I’m not sure if this post is the same issue or not but here goes….:

    We are using Google Business apps for our business, and using the Gmail included with the Business App. All of our emails are (tech@, vip@, billing@, etc…), which is what the Business App is listed under. When I send any of my co-workers an email, it goes to their Spam folder. Any idea why an inter-office gmail would be going to spam? We share the same domain, are all under the same Business app, and mine is the only email that goes to everyone’s Spam. None of the other accounts are affected. Any help or even direction would be most grateful and appreciated.

    • Randy, I am as puzzled as you are by this. I know that sometimes Gmail’s spam algorithms need training. So you could try just moving the emails out of the spam folder. Better still, try creating Gmail filters that mark emails received from those domains as Important. That should prevent them from going to spam.

      Hope this helps,


  20. Kimberlee Burkstrand says:

    This doesn’t fix my problem! My daughter somehow stole my Google Account. It has a lot of important information that I need. I don’t want a new account, I want My account! Is it that easy to just take over someone’s account?Can I get my account back?

  21. Tom richards says:

    I’ve literally spent weeks on trying to find a solution. Even this doesn’t quite fit my needs but it’s the closest explanation I’m going to get for which I thank you. For me I have a personal Gmail address & professional Gmail address. The personal Gmail address acts as the main hub to which my professional email address is forwarded into. So I can send and receive email from which ever account I need to. Professional calendar is shared with personal account so I can manage both calendars from one place. Professional Google drive account files are shared with my personal account. Problem for me is when it comes to creating events on calendar and sending invites the recipient can see my personal email address in the events created by section. Obviously I don’t want professional contacts seeing my personal address or vice versa. The same issue applies to Google drive. If I create files from personal account and put in shared folder, other people I am collaborating with can see both personal and professional address. It’s so frustrating. If there was only a solution.

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