The one thing Google doesn't know
February 6, 2018 8:49 AM   Subscribe

My Google account has 4 alternate e-mail addresses. People often share documents with me using my alternate e-mail addresses. When they do that, I can't access the documents. How do I fix that?

I'm sure there's some setting buried somewhere deep in Google that will allow me to access documents shared with me at each of these four alternate e-mail addresses. In fact, I'm pretty sure I set that up last year. But I just now got a document sent to one of my alternate e-mail addresses and Google won't let me see it.

Can you tell me how to get to it?
posted by Winnie the Proust to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
To be clear, you have four separate google accounts? (As opposed to just variations on the same account, like firstlast@gmail, first.last@gmail, firstlast+something@gmail)

If that's the case, then there is no easy fix, AFAIK. You can ask that people share things in such a way that anyone who has the link has access, though. You can also use incognito/private windows to open up gdocs that are logged into your other accounts.
posted by chrisamiller at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2018

Are you saying that someone shares a document with, and you log in as and can't see it? Or are you logged in as and you want to see documents shared with

If it's the latter, you can toggle between accounts from the upper right hand corner menu. You can add an account to the list of options using that menu, although you typically have to log in and out of each.

If it's the former, one theory is that you have a forward of some sort set up, so that someone shares with, but that invite is automatically forwarded to, and if you try to access the yname invite as yourname, it doesn't work.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 9:10 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

Chesty has it, regarding his latter example. The toggle in the upper-right is under the circular icon with your picture or initial that accesses your account info. Personally I dislike switching between accounts, so when this happens to me, I switch to a different browser which I usually have opened to the alternate Google account.
posted by beagle at 9:23 AM on February 6, 2018

Response by poster: I have one Google account. Let's call it

That Google account has four "Alternate Emails" (that's the term that Google uses):

These four e-mail addresses are at domains that I own and manage myself. Friends and family all e-mail me at I've had that e-mail address since about 1990, and I don't plan on moving away from it. I never use the e-mail address Google made up that address and I never give it out to anyone.

Someone just shared a Google Drive document with I got the e-mail about it, but when I clicked on the link Google told me that I couldn't have access to the document, and that I should try logging into a different Google account or else ask my friend to give me access to the document with this account.

Google should know that is linked to this account, but apparently it doesn't. How can I tell it that when someone shares a Google Drive document with, it means this account? I know I've gotten that working in the past, but apparently today it is no longer working.

(Additional background: I actually do have several other Google accounts that I pretty much never use. Those accounts have as the recovery e-mail address. That's probably not relevant, but I mention it in case it is.)
posted by Winnie the Proust at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2018

One thing you can try is to share your Google Drive account with the other accounts so that in effect that all end up with access to all 4 accounts.
posted by COD at 9:58 AM on February 6, 2018

Response by poster: COD, is that possible? When I search for it, I just get documents saying it can't be done.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 10:10 AM on February 6, 2018

I've done it in the past to share documents between my work and personal GDrive accounts. But maybe what I really did was share a specific folder and not the whole account.
posted by COD at 10:12 AM on February 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

You can set up Google accounts (and passwords) with all 4 of the other emails. They don't have to be @gmail addresses. But I think you can only link two @gmail accounts together.
posted by DarthDuckie at 1:26 PM on February 6, 2018

And it looked it looks like you can set up Gmail delegates but if you're already forwarding there's probably no need. But there isn't a way to combine/merge Google drives. You'd have to set up separate accounts.
posted by DarthDuckie at 1:35 PM on February 6, 2018

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