Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blogger Accounts, And Authenticated Sessions

People with multiple identities have been objects of interest for many years. Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is a literary classic, that many people refer to, when mentioning schizophrenia. Schizophrenia becomes a common problem when we use Blogger, and other Google products, too.

Google likes to make it easy for us to use Blogger and Google. When we login to GMail, and we have a Blogger account based on that GMail address, our Blogger access is provided, with the GMail login. It's not provided seamlessly, but we don't have to repeatedly login with our GMail account name and password, for each different Google application. That's a convenience - of a sort.

Unfortunately, what's a convenience to us may not be so to everybody.
When a user submits a comment, I get the email, click the "Publish" link, and...get kicked off Blogger and GMail (i.e. my Google Account session is killed).

This may have something to do with the fact that my GMail and Blogger accounts are rather old, and different from one another (my Blogger username is my email, and my GMail username is the username component of my email address).

When we log in to Blogger, or Google, a cookie is created, and the cookie is used in all subsequent sessions in various authenticated Google processes. Blogger, Docs, GMail, Picasa, and many others share one cookie. And that one cookie contains but one identity.

If you use simply one single browser for Blogger and GMail, and a different account for each, you'll be constantly logging in again, each time you refresh a Blogger or GMail display. This will also affect cookies which need to be persistent across browser and login sessions, as is currently a problem with Blogger Stats and the "Don't track my own pageviews" setting.

If you want to use multiple identities, then use multiple browsers, or multiple computers. Or use a sandbox, to use the same browser, in multiple copies, on one computer.

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3 comments:

bytehead said...

"This may have something to do with the fact that my GMail and Blogger accounts are rather old, and different from one another (my Blogger username is my email, and my GMail username is the username component of my email address)."

Hmmm. Mine's pretty old, too. But I decided to make my Blogger account my Gmail account when it came down to it (I have no idea who I signed up with first!) You could add your Gmail account to your Blogger account, which would then alleviate logging in again into Blogger to publish the comment. The comment would just be published under your Gmail account. You'd just have to be careful when posting a new article.

Otherwise, I agree, go schizzy and use an alternate browser (portable even for your current browser if that's a big headache). I Firefox 3.0, 3.1 beta Portable, and Chrome. I also have Safari installed (I think?) Well, installed (F..., uh, Thank you iTunes!).

heirsinhope said...

I'm confused. When I opened my blogger acct 5-6 yrs or so ago, I wasn't allowed to use my gmail for my primary email so I used my hotmail address. At 1st all went well but then I began to be booted out of gmail whenever I logged into blogger & vice versa. I've tried to change my sign-in to my gmail address so I could use it to log in to blogger. It still won't work but sometimes I get screens telling me I should change my email. I'm pretty savvy w/ technology but this is just ridiculous. I'd like to be able to use my email while I'm using blogger which seems perfectly reasonable to me. What's the problem?

Chuck said...

Heirs,

You cannot actually change the account name, whether it's to GMail - or to another non GMail name. What you should do is setup a new Blogger account, and transfer control of your blog(s) to the new account. Use 2 browsers or 2 different computers, for best results.

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=363a0b7b37f31782&hl=en