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Friday, September 3, 2010

Which Google User Are You?

You may be a personal Google account user, with a standard gmail.com account.

You may be a Google Apps account user, with a mycomany-domain.com account hosted by Google Apps.

If you have a Google Apps email account such as joesmith@mycompany-domain.com but use a Google personal account service such as Google Picasa, who are you then?

Our users have brought to our attention of a recent Google Apps change that attempts to grand unify the two sides together as one account. There isn’t much documentation on the Google web sites since it is still under the Trusted Tester program. All the documentation we found refers to the mysterious  “Transition”.  Now we are trying to piece together the “Transition” here.

History – The Two Were Born Differently

Regular Google personal account has be around longer than the Google Apps account, with more products and services to use.


Google Apps was introduced more recently than the personal account, with less products and services available.


There are two sets of isolated infrastructures, with different set of database for the user accounts.

Problem – Both are Great Services

Google personal account is great with all the services such as Blogger, Picasa, Reader and so on.

Google apps account is great in that you can setup a startup company in no time with email, document and site support, which used to require a Microsoft Exchange Server + a Microsoft Sharepoint Server.

It also created conflicts. When a Google personal user wants a Google Apps account, he has to suffer lost of services (no more Picasa!)

There is also conflict when you sign up at Blogger with your Google Apps account. Google solves the problem by creating a conflicting account (secretly under the hood, it is a personal account so you can blog with Blogger. On the surface, you login as mycompany-domain.com Apps user)

When both grow in popularity, the cost of supporting both doubles. When in small scale, it makes sense to separate them. Now in big scale, it makes sense to merge them.

Solution – Merge and Acquisition, Thus Transition

We first noticed the transition when user reports coming in, complaining that they can’t map a network drive to Google Apps account any more or they can’t upload documents to Google Apps directly from Windows Explorer any more, with the Gladinet Cloud Desktop.

As we investigate more, we found that Google Apps is transitioning into regular Google Account. It is a merger!


(Picture source: Google support page)

As quoted from another Google support page:

Transition phases and timeline:
While you currently have the option to decide when and which of your Google Apps accounts are transitioned to the new account infrastructure, all domains will need to transition all users on their mandatory transition date later this Fall. The transition phases and timeline are as follows:

  • Beginning in mid-August: Early adopter phase
    Opt-in available to most Standard, Premier and Education Edition customers
  • Beginning in mid-September: Full opt-in phase
    Open to all Standard, Premier and Education Edition customers
    All key features complete
  • Later this Fall: Automatic transitions
    Customers who haven't already opted in will be automatically transitioned


Our Response

we have released a new update to the Gladinet Cloud Desktop, version 2.3.432. It has a “Converted Google Apps Account” option now. If your Google Apps account has been transitioned into the new Google Account, you can use this option to mount your Google Apps (Docs) account into Windows Explorer and continue to upload/download documents from the mapped virtual drive.


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