The Google+ Brain Transplant

After having my lifetime hosting account with Joyent/TextDrive unceremoniously revoked (and later reinstated), I decided to move my email to Google Apps. This left me with a dilemma: I now had two primary Google accounts. One of them had my email, and the other had my Google+ account, and everything else previously tied to it.

That simply wouldn’t do.

Thankfully, there’s a migration tool through Google Takeout that will copy your circles (contacts) over to another account, and simultaneously update links to your profile from other user’s accounts. Sounds perfect.

Of course, there are a few caveats:

  1. Only circles are transferred. Old content – posts, +1s, photos – are deleted. (You can download much of it locally through the Takeout system, but it won’t be transferred to your new account.)
  2. There’s a one week waiting period, presumably to make sure nobody can take over your account without warning.
  3. If you have any pages, you’ll need to transfer ownership to your new account first. That has an additional two week waiting period.

That means this process takes just shy of a month to complete, so some planning is required. Your account will also lose history – even if you re-manually import your posts, your +1s, reshares, and photo tags will all be lost (like tears in the rain).

Once done, both accounts will still be active. The new one will have all your followers, and the old one will be an empty shell of an account. The old account will also still have all of your posts and inbound links from across the Internet. You can try delisting it from search results (yes, that’s an option in your profile settings!), but those links are going keep sending new followers to your old account. Ultimately, you’ll need to delete your old profile and downgrade it to a regular Google account.

All said, I’m sure I’m going to take a bit of a hit from this. The rate at which I’m getting new followers has definitely slowed down, and of course there’s the issue of all my old posts having been erased from the ‘net. If I cared more about my posts, I suppose I could upload the HTML files to a personal server.

Would I do it again? Hell no. As a one-time cost in order to have a single combined account though, I’d say it was worth it.


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