Chrome profiles are much more robust and functional than just the incognito mode that many power users use and know. They allow a user to maintain several browser sessions into the same web sites with different identities at the same time, and this can be of great functionality.
Many, maybe most, users have made use of Incognito mode. They right-click the Chrome icon and start a “New incognito window.” Then they surf the web while experiencing a “clean” browser. This can assist with providing a fresh login session to a web site in case the user is concerned some cached info could be altering the web experience. Essentially, Incognito mode runs Chrome in a Sandbox web session. Once the session is over and the browser is closed, logins and history are deleted. The adds a heightened, though certainly not perfect, level of privacy.
Some power users take this a step farther and use the Incognito mode to have multiple logins to the same website. For example, they may log into Gmail in their normal Chrome browser that is signed in with their regular Google account and use an Incognito session to also log in to a different Gmail mailbox attached to a different user account.
But—and this is where it gets fun and much more functional—we can take the concept of Google Chrome profiles and use it for access to websites, but from multiple accounts, all at the same time.
Creating a new profile in Chrome
You can enable a new profile (or Person as Chrome calls it). Here are the steps:
- Click the profile button at the upper right of the browser. You will now see any existing profiles.
- At the bottom click the “Add” option
- Create a name and select a picture to assist with identifying the profile you are creating.
- Click “Add” and that’s it.
Now you have a Chrome profile, and, unlike Incognito mode, login and history information will remain between sessions that use the same profile, even if the browser session is closed.
Reasons to have multiple Chrome profiles
So, why would you want to do this? Here are some examples.
Suppose you always use Gmail and like to keep it open. And suppose you also occasionally need to check a different Gmail account, perhaps one associated with a minor in your house, a volunteer position you fulfill, or any number of other reasons. Create a new Chrome profile, add a shortcut to the homepage or a bookmark to the alternate Gmail account. You can now have quick access to the secondary Gmail and never had to close the first Gmail session. And you are not limited to just two sessions. You can open many more as long as you have a different profile associated with each.
Perhaps you manage 365 for several different accounts–home (which you manage from your personal account), a volunteer organization and a business account. Perhaps you want to compare certain admin settings in your business and apply similar controls at your volunteer organization. By using a different Chrome profile for each, you can bring up the controls for your business and review them and do a side-by-side comparison while making the changes in your volunteer organization. The best part is this entire time, you did not have to leave your personal 365 home account, which was open in its own profile.
The Team’s “fat” client can only use one account at a time. However, Teams allows access to much of the client functionality via the browser. So, you could use the actual Teams client for your work account while having a Chrome profile dedicated for use with a different Teams account.
Once you start using Chrome profiles in this manner, I believe you will find many applicable scenarios that you can customize to your own use.
And, not to be left out, the new Microsoft Edge browser also offers the same features, which are accessed in much the same way.