[Article first published as Google+? Still a Minus for Google Apps Users on Blogcritics.]
I have 3 invitations, but I still can’t log on. Every time I try I get hit with that same irritating message: “Oops… you need a Google profile to use this feature. Google Profiles is not available for your organization.” Since when am I an organization? Allow me explain, as the definition of “organization” is pretty narrow. You see kids the thing is this: I have a fair-sized ego. In the words of Dr. Cox from Scrubs, “this machine runs on props.” It’s not an ego so big that I would try to trademark a common phrase a la Donald Trump’s “you’re fired,” but big enough that I would (and did) register the domain name tusharnene.com, for no other purpose than to host email addresses from it and run my little blog. That’s right, mine. Doing that through Google and enom was stupidly cheap and they give you Google Apps on your domain to boot. That little detail is what makes me an “organization,” even if I am just an organization of one single damn user. Google+ requires a Google profile. And guess who isn’t allowed to make Google profiles? You guessed it, Google Apps “organizations.”
I figured it wasn’t too big of a problem. I have other email addresses aside from my Google Apps address. So let’s try going through those. “Oops… you need a Google profile to use this feature. Google Profiles is not available for your organization.”… Well damn. Just being logged into my Google Apps account means that clicking invitation links from my Yahoo email address still won’t work. And I can’t do it through my Gmail account, because I can’t be logged into that and my Google Apps account simultaneously. But in my head I still had outs. I tried opening the invitation in my Yahoo address on my phone. Maybe that would do the trick. “Google+ is unavailable for your account.” … Monkeys. No dice. I was signed in under my Google Apps in account on my Droid X as well, which is synced to my email.
Now this doesn’t mean I can’t use Google+ period. I can always log out of my Apps account and use my old Gmail account. But I really don’t want to. My Apps account is open all the time – for email as well as other services like Google chat, Blogger, Feedburner and Google Analytics. I’d have to use Google+ independently if I wanted to see it at all, that is to say I have to be logged out of everything to use it. So if I’m on Google+ I can’t see my email. If I’m on my email I can’t use Google+. It’s a regular conundrum, and one that could have been avoided at that. A few months ago I got notice from Google about changes being made to all Google Apps accounts. After this transition, I couldn’t be logged in to my Apps and my other Gmail account simultaneously, which is something I did before, and something that would have circumvented my current issue. I’ve been reading about some workarounds through Google Reader, but have yet to test.
Now it’s said that Google Profiles and Google+ are still “coming soon” for Apps customers, but then again they said the same thing about Buzz and that never really panned out. It’s the matter of pure inconvenience to me that is turning me off to the entire idea before I even get it up and running. An entire subset of paying customers is being left in the dark. That’s surprising for Google, whose services I’ve generally been very pleased with. I can’t be even close to the only one who uses Google Apps for personal domain registration and use. There must be a bunch of users of equal or greater ego and/or nerdiness that does the same thing. Can this tweak really be that difficult to make?