Google has quietly added the ability for users to sign into up to three Google accounts at the same time from the same browser, saving users the inconvenience of logging on and logging off to switch between accounts.
Users who enable it will see a drop-down menu next to their e-mail address that lets them choose which Google account they wish to sign into. Underneath this menu, a warning tells users to check their address to make sure they're using the correct account.
Google said the tool will work for Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Sites, Google Reader, Google Voice, App Engine and Google Code. Multiple sign-in support is not yet included for Google Docs, Google Talk and Google Wave.
The feature is valuable for households where more than one user accesses his or her Google account from the same desktop, laptop, netbook or tablet computer.
For example, if a family of four has a community computer in the kitchen or living room that's used to access Google accounts, each family member would have to sign the previous user out of the Google account before the new user could sign in to access his or her own Google account.
Now, with the new multiple sign-in feature, users can just click the drop-down menu to pick their account. Google explains how it works in its help center:
"If you use multiple sign-in, the first account you sign in will be your default account. If you visit other Google products that don't support multiple accounts after you've signed in, you will automatically sign in to your default account for that product. If you sign out of any Google product while signed in to any account, you will be signed out of all your Google Accounts at once."
Moreover, multiple sign-in will disable offline Gmail and offline Calendar, as well as any browser bookmarks.
Not everyone will see multiple sign-in yet. A Google spokesperson told eWEEK that multiple sign-in is an "advanced feature for power users, and we've just started rolling it out."
A note at the top of Google's multiple sign-in help center Web page says, "We're working hard to enable this feature for everyone, and we appreciate your patience in the meantime."