July 5, 2011

441 words 3 mins read

Oops... you need a Google profile to use this feature.

One of the greatest inventions for small site hosting is that of Google Apps. I, like many people these days, own a number of domain names. I host sites for those domains along with sites for my friends. One of the few services I don’t offer is email — and that’s where Google Apps comes in. It is the most perfect mix of Gmail (which I like, though I know some don’t) and custom email domains… well… almost perfect.

Over the last 6 months, Google has been busy

transitioning Google Apps accounts (which were previously a completely separate type of login from regular Gmail) to be just like Gmail accounts (just not @gmail.com). This is great for the users because there were many issues with non-Apps friendly services having both an Apps account and a non-App account under the same name (some strange things happened). With that transition I basically abandoned my @gmail.com account since I didn’t need it at all.

Until now. I seem to keep running into messages like “Oops… you need a Google profile to use this feature.” and “This service is not available. Profiles is not available for snowulf.com”. The first message is very familiar to anyone who uses a Google Apps account and has tried to investigate Google+. You cannot even access the informational splash screens on plus.google.com while logged in. The first message also shows up if you try to click on a Google Plus One. I’ve added a +1 button to the blog here, but I can’t click it myself.

The second message shows up when you try to create an account on profiles.google.com. According to the FAQ Buzz, Health, Powermeter and Profiles are all unavailable to Google Apps users. Since both Health and Powermeter are being discontinued it doesn’t make much difference for those users. On the other hand Buzz is fairly new and Profiles seems like a “basic” feature. What I don’t understand is why Google has such an issue adding administrative controls for Profiles.

I understand that in complex software projects, nothing is as simple as it seems. That being said, Google has found a way to turn off Profiles for just apps users… so instead of that being a flat turn off, why can’t it just look up the switch setting? Especially when Google is making such a push with Profiles based services (Plus One, Google Plus, etc), it would behoove them to get the administrative settings worked out. All I can hope is that in the future they take apps users into account BEFORE they launch services (after all, many Google Apps users are actually PAYING for their accounts).