John Watson

Hello! My name is Watson and I’m a freelance web developer. I create web sites using the latest tech for clients of all sizes. Contact me and I’ll help you build your dream project.

Google Chrome application shortcuts and multiple identities

I keep flipping between Chrome and Firefox. I’m currently back on Chrome (the speed!). One of the things I love about Firefox is the ability to create application shortcuts (using the Prism plugin). The cool thing about those shortcuts is that each one had it’s own user profile. I have multiple Google accounts and it was a pain to log out and log in to each one individually throughout the day. Having these applications with their own profiles solved that problem for me. Now I could stay in my primary account all day in my browser and use the application shortcuts to check stuff in my other accounts without having to login again.

Google Chrome has a similar feature but by default it uses your primary user profile. Here’s what you do to make application shortcuts use an alternate profile:

  1. Create your application shortcut
  2. Edit it and add –user-data-dir=custom_profile_directory to the launch command
Where custom_profile_directory is a path to where you want the profile saved. Now that application shortcut will have its own cookies, saved passwords, browsing history, the works. You can use this parameter with Chrome when its in browser mode too. Handy if you’re doing web development and you need to be logged into one app as two different people.