Use multiple Google accounts simultaneously with browser profiles and containers

Both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox provide features that allow you to use multiple Gmail accounts at the same time, but keep them separate. This is helpful if you want to use some websites while signed into your SJSU Gmail account and others signed in with your personal account or an account from another facility, and avoid confusion about which is which.


Chrome:

Google Chrome lets you sign into multiple Google accounts each with its own window. Each profile will be completely separate, with its own bookmarks, browsing history, browser add-ons, and stored passwords. This is useful for keeping your personal information and bookmarks separate from your work/school accounts, as well as keeping multiple work/school accounts separate from each other.

  1. Open Chrome and click your profile icon in the top right.

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  2. At the bottom of the menu that appears, click + Add.
  3. A new window will appear. Sign in with the Google account that you wish to add. 
    • NOTE: If you are signing into an SJSU account, you will be redirected to a webpage to login with your SJSU ID and authenticate with Duo.
  4. Now that you have added a second profile, when you launch Chrome you will be presented with a window showing all of your profiles and letting you choose which one you want to launch

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  5. Click the icon with three vertical dots on each profile to access its preferences
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  6. Set a different browser theme and picture for each one, so you can tell which account you are using at a glance.
  7. You can also create a desktop shortcut for each profile (Windows only).


  8. We recommend creating at least two profiles:
    • One for your personal email and non-MLML-related usage.
    • One for your SJSU Google account.

An important note about applications that use Single Sign-On (SSO), like Zoom, Google Drive for Desktop, and Adobe Creative Cloud:

  • When you sign in to these applications, they open a browser window, so you can authenticate with whichever accounts you are already signed into in your browser. 
  • If you try to use an SSO application with Chrome’s multiple browser profiles, Chrome will open the sign-on page in whichever profile you most recently clicked on. 
  • To ensure that SSO applications work correctly, simply ensure that you click on the appropriate Chrome window (in which you are signed into the account that will be used with the app) before clicking the sign in button in the app itself.

For more documentation on Google Chrome profiles, view the Google help page.


Firefox:

Firefox uses a different approach for allowing you to keep accounts separate. Rather than completely separate browser profiles, Firefox lets you open tabs in different “containers”, each of which has its own accounts and stored cookies. Bookmarks, browsing history, and browser add-ons, however, are shared across all containers.

 

  1. To use Firefox containers, install this official browser add-on from Mozilla.
  2. When the add-on is installed, you will see a new button in the top right corner of the Firefox window.


  3. Clicking one of the containers in the bottom section will open a new tab in that container. You can have any number of tabs in any container open.
  4. Containers will be differentiated by the colored line across the top of each tab


  5. Clicking Manage Containers will allow you to create, edit, or delete your containers.
    • Firefox comes with a few by default (Personal, Work, Banking, Shopping), but we recommend that you make one container for your SJSU Google account and another one for your personal Google account.


  6. You can also click Always Open This Site in…  to assign a website to a particular container.
    • For example, you could assign one.sjsu.edu to your SJSU container, so if you click a link in another tab, it will be switched over to the appropriate container with your SJSU account.

An important note about applications that use Single Sign-On (SSO), like Zoom, Google Drive for Desktop, and Adobe Creative Cloud: 

  • When you sign in to these applications, they open a browser window, so you can authenticate with whichever accounts you are already signed into in your browser. 
  • If you try to use an SSO application Firefox containers enabled, it will not open in any container by default, and you may not be able to reopen the sign-on page in a particular container since it may use a unique link that only works once.
  • To ensure that SSO applications work correctly, you can assign the application’s sign-in page to the appropriate container, as described above. If this doesn’t work, you may need to use a different browser to sign in.

For more documentation on Firefox containers, view the Mozilla help page.