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My Google Account split-personality nightmare (aka my one big minus for Google+)

I really want to love Google+ but there’s one thing that is keeping me from doing so: my Google Account split-personality nightmare.

The early adopter problem

See, I’m an early adopter and I’ve always been a bit of a tinkerer and a hacker. So when I was first able to ditch cksample at gmail dot com for a ck at sampletheweb dot com Google Apps account, I did. At the time, Google Apps was only Gmail and Calendar (and maybe Docs, hard to remember). But, you couldn’t login to Google Reader (where I have practically lived online since it launched) with a true Google Apps Gmail account.

The workaround I implemented back in the early 2000s

So what I did to get around this:

  1. I went to iGoogle.
  2. I created a new iGoogle account and entered my email as my Google Apps email address
  3. I gave this iGoogle account the same password as my actual ck at sampletheweb dot com Google Apps account

The result? I was able to sign in to Google Reader with my Google Apps email address and password, so that the entire experience was seamless to me, even though the accounts didn’t really see one another on Google’s we-didn’t-think-of-a-way-to-handle-this-until-years-later system.

The flaw with this workaround

So the big problem with the workaround I came up with is that I can never seem to actually log in to Google Reader with my actual Google Apps account since there is already a Google Reader account with that email address. I also have no way of combining those two accounts. I’ve applied for the old Google account to be migrated to a new Google account, but it never seems to have happened (and I’m guessing that it doesn’t happen because of the exact conflict that I created with my workaround).

Why not just switch to cksample at gmail dot com then?

Well, besides the lost branding of this site on my Gmail, there’s this very long history of all the things that I’ve been reading on Google Reader for years and years that is followed by over 300 people, who for whatever reason enjoy my particular approach to curating the web. It alongside my Twitter stream feed the Lifestream of Samplings posts that now make up the majority of the posts on this site. There’s no way (that I’ve been able to discover) for me to effectively migrate that data from one Google Reader account to another.

The Rub

So my Google Reader Shared Items page is a large imprint of my online activity and it’s trapped. It’s also associated with this Google Profile, which by all rights, as the long existing, publicly displayed profile of yours truly, should be my Google+ presence online. Unfortunately, since this account doesn’t actually have a *real* Gmail account associated with it in Google’s eyes, due to my years-ago workaround above, I can only log in and use this account from a browser. Google+ for Android on my Infuse 4G and my HTC Evo View 4G just don’t see this Google+ account as a valid account1.

In fact, the only account that works with my mobile devices, is my old, largely unused (it only really forwards to my ck at sampletheweb dot com account) account: cksample at gmail dot com. Here’s that, largely barren, Google+ Profile.

Dear Google: PLEASE HELP!

I want this to work seamlessly. I want to be able to post from all my devices. I want to *love* Google+, but right now I don’t and I can’t because of this issue. It sucks. It’s also probably confusing for all the people that are adding both versions of me to their Google+ Circles. I’m glad to hear the service is wildly successful to the point of having scaling problems, but I can’t be one of these people fully loving Google+ until this issue is resolved.

Anyone else having this problem? Can anyone offer a solution? I’m all ears.

Footnote: 1Unfortunately this Android incompatibility problem extends beyond Google+ to nearly every other Android app for Google services out there (like the Google Reader app itself).