Today I was listening to Leo Laporte, Gina Trapani, Jeff Jarvis & Pete Cashmore on This Week In Google, and during the end of the show Jeff popped a question to Gina in regards to Google Apps account and how it can be used as a Google Account. If you want to know what the exact question was you got to download the TWIG Episode 28.
But anyway I’ll just quickly go and answer the question in general for everybody as I believe many others (including myself) have run into this loop hole before.
Google Account vs Google Apps Account
Even though both the names sounds kind of similar but they operate very differently. Google Account is basically an unified sign-in system used by Google for most of google products online including – Gmail, Picasa, Google Groups, iGoogle, Google Docs, Web History etc.
On the other hand Google Apps is rather a professional/business solution of a google applications suit that consists of Email, Document collaboration, calendar etc. For most people your Google Apps username is firstname.lastname@example.org, which you can use to sign in to all these different Google applications available under the Google App Suite.
So if you are a Google Apps user and you don’t have a ‘regular’ Google Account, then you wont be able to log in to most of the other Google services that are not a part of the Google Apps program.
Make your Google Apps or Any Email Address a Google Account
The simple solution is to make your Google Apps account or any email address that you like (hotmail, yahoo, aol, domain.com) a Google account.
Step 1: Go to the Google Account Registration page: https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount
Step 2: Fill in your email address and a password. Note: Your email address here can be an existing Google Apps email account or even a 3rd party email (non google app based company email, yahoo, hotmail etc.).
Step 3: Google will send you a verification Email & maybe a verification SMS as well. Once the verification is complete that particular email address of your choice will become a “Google Account” and now its not any different from a gmail address.
You can now use that email (google account) in things like – Picasa Web, Google Voice, Google Profile etc. which was previously not available.
This is exactly how MSN passport (a.k.a Windows Live ID) works. You can make your Gmail account your Windows Live ID and sign in to skydrive or anywhere that requires a Windows Live login. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a hotmail/live account.
Hope this helps!