Google Apps Accounts and the Android Market

Android & Puppy
Creative Commons License Photo credit: jyri

Anyone with a Google Apps account (aka Google Apps for Your Domain or GAFYD) will be familiar with the discrepancies regarding certain Google services and their availability to Apps users. Google Reader for example requires a normal Google Account, an Apps account won’t do. The way round this is to create a separate Google Account using your Apps email address but this leaves you with two separate accounts with no integration and duplication of some services such as Google Docs. All in all it is a mess.

I came across a doozy of a problem this week though. I recently switched from an iPhone to the HTC Desire which of course runs the Google backed Android OS. Android is pretty tightly integrated with Google, offering automatic email, calendar and contacts syncing among other features and very good it is too.

All went swimmingly until after a week I came across an app I wanted that wasn’t free so I clicked on “buy” in the Android market only to be presented with a selection of strange, yet somehow familiar credit cards to use to make the purchase. This threw me for a minute until I realised they were cards that belong to the company I work for and were assigned to a Google Checkout account associated with my work gmail account. An account I had added to my Desire after adding my personal Google Apps account. Nowhere did the Android Market indicate that it had “chosen” this account.

So how do I switch to my personal apps account? This turned out to be a bit problematic. Actually it’s worse than that, it isn’t possible. A Google Apps account can’t purchase from the Android Market even if you have created a Google Account using the same email address and it is a known, long term problem. I found a workaround here, but it wouldn’t work for me as I’d already added my work gmail account to my phone and that was taking precedence. So, the obvious solution is to delete my work gmail account from my phone yes? No! Android won’t let me delete that account unless I do a factory reset (and lose all data on the phone) because it is “required by some apps”.

In the end I took the easy way out and added my credit card to the Google Checkout account associated with my work gmail account which now leaves me with the risk of accidentally paying for a work purchase with my personal card or purchasing an app using a work card.

I know Google have recently made noises that they are working on sorting this nonsense out but it needs sorting like yesterday!

2 thoughts on “Google Apps Accounts and the Android Market

  1. A lot has changed with the google apps accounts right now… like you can actually use google reader with an apps account now… Im hoping things like purchasing apps on android using an apps account has changed too??

    I cant actually remove my gmail (non-apps) account from my phone as there are of course appplications installed that were purhcased using the gmail account… so Id have to restore my phone to factory settings to remove the gmail account… and then test if I can purchase with the google apps acount.

    Anyone got further, more recent data to report??

  2. I have the same problem. The first email i setup was a google apps email. Then i downloaded apps from market. Then for buying apps, I added normal gmail account as my credit card was connected there. Now the problem is, when i go to Android market on web on my pc, i cannot loging to market using google apps email. And loging with gmail (used for purchase), does not show any apps.
    Very strange and a incomplete design from Google.

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