So, it’s been a couple of weeks since we signed up to get Google+ activated on our Google Apps domain, but it’s still not working. We had to give them a bunch of information to prove we were a real, live university instead of, I guess, some sort of front for an evil conspiracy to give underage people access to Google+. Hopefully they just haven’t gotten to our application yet. I’d hate to think they just dropped it into the bit-bucket without telling us anything. Let’s see how much longer it takes…
Updated April 4, 2012
As promised earlier, here is how you get started on Blogger, AKA Blogspot.
Before you go through this process, though, check to see if it works already; that’s happened for some people, and it may work for more now that we have Google Profiles and Google+ enabled on our Google Apps domain.
- Log in to the WOUPortal.
- Go to gmail (Google’s systems need to know you’re online or this won’t work.)
- Go to http://www.blogger.com/. If you get a server error, or are redirected to the Portal login page, then blogger isn’t already set up for you and you need to do the workaround process below.
- If you see the login page for blogger, try logging in with your WOU Google Apps account: “firstname.lastname@example.org”. It is important to use “mail.wou.edu”, not just “wou.edu”!
Here’s a snapshot of the blogger.com login page, so you know you’re in the right place:
If none of that got you in to blogger’s control panel, here’s the workaround to use:
- Sign out of Gmail, which should return you to the Portal login page. This won’t work unless you are actually signed out; just closing browser tabs is not enough.
- Go to http://www.blogger.com/ and click the “Sign up for a new Google Account” link in the upper right. Enter your mail.wou.edu address, and the same password you use in the WOUPortal, then fill out the rest of the form.
- Click Continue. You will probably see a message like this:
Blogger is not available for mail.wou.edu. Learn more about
Google products you can use with @mail.wou.edu.
Did you use this product with a different Google Account?
Sign out of your current Google Account and then sign in
to the account you want.
The text might be different, but that should be the gist of it. This is actually a good sign, and you’re almost done with the process.
- If the text “Sign out” in the message is a link, click it. Either way, next go to the WOUPortal, where you should see the login form.
- Log in, go to Gmail, and then go to www.blogger.com. Instead of the login screen, you should see a user profile including the option to create a new blog. If you do see the login form, click Sign In but don’t enter any email or password. That should take you to the blogger user profile if you weren’t there already.
That’s it! From then on, as long as you’re signed in to Gmail, you should be able to go directly to blogger and be logged in.
There’s a lot of confusion about this, so hopefully I can explain it in a way that makes more sense.
A “Google Account” is basically a personal account. This is the original type of account Google offered, back when they started up Gmail and Google Apps didn’t yet exist. If you created an account on any Google service, it would be a Google Account.
A “Google Apps Account”, on the other hand, is what you get when a whole domain is set up to use Google services. If you own a domain you can sign up for this yourself, but more likely you got it when an organization signed up and then gave you an account. These accounts are managed centrally by the owner of the domain. For brevity, I’m going to refer to these as “GA accounts”, and domains with Google Apps enabled as “GA domains”.
When you log in to the WOUPortal and go to gmail, you’re using a GA account; WOU’s GA domain is “mail.wou.edu”, which is why you’ll often see “email@example.com” instead of “firstname.lastname@example.org” in Google services. Particularly, when you send an email, Gmail will use “email@example.com” as the From address, unless you tell it to use “firstname.lastname@example.org” instead. (We have instructions for that in the WOU Google Apps tutorial page; see step C in the PDF guide to transferring your old mail.)
Google accounts and GA accounts used to be completely different under the hood, and GA accounts could not access services like Picasa and Blogger that aren’t part of the core Google Apps suite like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, etc. In 2010, however, Google changed the inner workings of GA accounts so they were more like Google Accounts; if you’re looking at Google’s help pages and see a reference to “transitioning Google Apps Accounts to a new infrastructure”, it’s referring to this change.
Since the change, GA accounts can use most services offered by Google, not just the Google Apps suite. Most, but not all; Blogger and the new Google+ and any other service requiring a public profile are still not available to GA accounts. Well, Blogger sort of is, but only if you sign up for it using a Google Account and then link your GA account to it. (I’ll post a separate entry about that soon.)
As of the start of November 2011, Google announced that Google+ would be available to most Google Apps domains. Because the minimum age for Google+ is 18, any educational institution wanting to enable Google+ for their GA domain needs to prove that they’re a college or university. We’ve put in an application for this, and soon should get the option to enable Google+ on mail.wou.edu.
However, I don’t know when that will be; supposedly there’s a wait time because they have lots of applications to process. Once that’s done, your WOU GA Account will be almost exactly like a Google Account, and you (hopefully) won’t have to worry about the difference anymore.
Meanwhile, I hope this helped!
I’m back from vacation. I spent most of it just catching up on sleep, but man, did I ever need it.
I’m going to try to keep up with my blogging now. At the moment I’m too swamped to write more than that, though.