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Q: I got a note when logging into Google saying "Your account has changed" -- what should I do?

Full text of the Google error notice

Error message screen

Your account has changed.
This account has an alternate email address, something@mit.edu. This address is no longer available because an organization has reserved this mit.edu email address.

You are now signed in with your primary address. Except for the removal of the alternate email address, nothing has changed.

Context

The above error message from Google is actually a slight misrepresentation. The address is no longer available because of an infrastructure change Google has made to the way they host Google Apps domains, not because it was "reserved by an organization." (Yes, we're a little annoyed by this.)

On September 5th, 2012 Google is upgrading the infrastructure for Google Apps at mit.edu. We do not have control over the timing, but it is a positive change overall as it will make more Google services available in Google Apps at mit.edu over time. However, one of the side effects is that "login namespaces" have been merged. After the change, your mit.edu email address can only be associated with one Google account as a primary or alternate login address.

What does this mean for me?

  • Not registered for Google Apps for mit.edu: no effect
    If you have not registered your mit.edu email address for Google Apps for the mit.edu domain (i.e. you have not registered to use www.google.com/a/mit.edu) then this change will not affect you in any way.
  • Registered for Google Apps for mit.edu
    If you have registered your mit.edu email address for Google Apps for the mit.edu domain, then:
    • Not also using mit.edu address for personal Google account: no effect
      If you are not using your mit.edu as a primary or alternate login address for a personal Google account, then this change will not affect you.
    • Also using mit.edu address as an alternate login address: conflict!
      If you are also using your mit.edu address as an alternate login address on one of your personal Google accounts, you will receive a conflict warning from Google the next time you log into your personal account, informing you of the conflict and letting you know that Google has removed your mit.edu address from the list of alternate login addresses for your personal Google account.
    • Also using mit.edu address as a primary Google account: conflict!
      If you are using your mit.edu address as a the primary login for a personal Google account, such as an account you use only with Google Docs, Google will inform you of the conflict the next time you log into your personal account and will require you to pick a new email address for this personal Google account. You can choose an email address you already have, as long as it is not a conflicting Google on, such as your alum.mit.edu address, or you can create a new one at gmail.com.

Google email addresses explained.

  • Primary login address
    This is the main address associated with your Google account. It is often an address at gmail.com but Google allows you to use any address you can receive mail at. You may used your mit.edu email address if you signed up with for an application-specific Google account, for example a Google Docs account. This address is displayed under your name in the Google account box in the upper right corner of your browser window if you're logged in and on a Google page. You can also see it indicated with the word "primary" in your list of addresses at https://www.google.com/settings/account
  • Alternate associated login address
    These are alternate login addresses Google allows you to associate with your account. You can use them as aliases to log into your Google Account, and others can use them to share documents with you and invite you to hangouts. You can see and manage the list at https://www.google.com/settings/account
  • "Send mail as" addresses
    These addresses are specific to the Gmail application in Google, and can be found on the Accounts and Import tab on your Gmail settings. These addresses are verified by Google as something you can receive mail at, and Gmail will allow you to send mail from. They are not used for logging in or sharing documents.
  • Verified forwarding addresses
    These addresses are also specific to the Gmail application, and can be found on the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab in your Gmail settings. They are verified by Google as addresses you can receive mail at, but are not used for login.

What's NOT affected

"Send mail as" addresses in Gmail are not affected by this change, even if it is the same as your Google Apps at mit.edu address. You can continue to use your personal Gmail account to send mail from your mit.edu address and forward your mit.edu email address to your personal Google account. Verified forwarding addresses are also not affected by this change.

What if I want to keep using my mit.edu address with my personal Google account?

If you are affected by this change Google made but you want to keep using your mit.edu address with your personal Google account, we can delete your account in the Google Apps for mit.edu domain. This means you will no longer be able to log into Google Apps for the mit.edu domain at www.google.com/a/mit.edu. If Google has already de-associated your mit.edu address from your personal Google account, you can re-associate it as soon as your domain account is deleted. Please contact us at: google-help@mit.edu

If this is something you would like to pursue:
One word of caution: as use of Google Apps for mit.edu expands at MIT, you may find faculty and instructors using it for classes or teams using it for sharing documents. You cannot have the same login email address in both places, so if you need to participate in one of these activities, you will need to give up your mit.edu address on your personal Google account in favor of Google Apps for mit.edu.

See also

IS&T Contributions

Documentation and information provided by IS&T staff members


Last Modified:

May 05, 2016

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