Multiple users in Google Chrome

Take my word for it, if you’re a GMail or Google Apps user, then Google Chrome is what you should be using for the best browser experience.

Until very recently it was a pain to share your browser with another user if you both expected to have GMail open on the same shared desktop.  You had to use another browser, or open an “Incognito Window”.  But now it’s (nearly) a piece of cake to co-exist inside Chrome.

Here’s how to set up multi-user chrome:

It was surprisingly non-obvious how to do this as Chrome creates new users with random names and automatically pops open a window for them to use before you’re finished configuring things, but this guide will help you through it.


1.  Get into Chrome Options



Settings MenuClick on the settings menu (the three bars) up the top right of your Chrome window and select “Options…”



2.  Adding a new user

Personal Stuff

(click to enlarge picture)

Find the “Personal Stuff” section and you’ll see “Users” in there.  If you don’t see “Users” you probably don’t have the latest version of Chrome (which is odd, because it should update itself automatically).  If you need to update, go back to the spanner, and select “About chrome” and click the “update” link in that window.

Add User


Click the “Add User” button and a new window will pop up for the new user.  You can close that and get back to the options.  You’ll now see a new user (typically called “Bluesy” for the first one) which you can rename by double clicking on it.  You can also select a new icon if you like.



3.  Selecting the new user

Choose profile

Up the top left of the Chrome window you’ll now see a new icon.  The image will be different depending on what you selected, but when you click on it you’ll see something like this little pop-up menu appear.


Select one of the users on the list and a new window will open up configured just for them.  It will preserve their last login details and keep their preferences separate from yours.




Chrome Preferences

Advanced Prefs

Chrome can save your preferences against your google account so wherever you open Chrome and log in as you, you’ll get all your settings – from bookmarks, to saved passwords to browsing history (see image opposite).  This is really cool when you’re out and about on someone else’s computer – it looks and feels just like yours.


GMail for Everyone

I’ve deployed this to great effect in a small business where a single desktop computer was shared by several staff accessing two separate GMail accounts.  Obviously in this case there were no privacy issues between the two accounts, it was simply convenience to be able to have both active at once.

So there you go – check it out.  Great for shared family accounts too!





On December 29, 2011, posted in: Blog, How To, Informative by

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