Tag Archives: Google Maps

Google Chrome – Profiles, User-Data and Users

I have to admit that I am a collector of Google accounts.

Never really intended for it to become so excessive – it just happened. Most of the incoming mail still goes into my central Thunderbird mail hub but there is the need to log into some of these accounts directly, at least once in a while.

Google Chrome has been my tool for this as it had this nice command line parameter allowing me to define the location where it stored all it’s data. Thus I created a number of copies of my default data storage at

C:\Users\mememe\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data



and created shortcuts to different instances of Chrome with targets like

%chromepath%\chrome.exe --user-data-dir="C:\usr\browser\chrome000"
%chromepath%\chrome.exe --user-data-dir="C:\usr\browser\chrome001"
%chromepath%\chrome.exe --user-data-dir="C:\usr\browser\chrome002"
%chromepath%\chrome.exe --user-data-dir="C:\usr\browser\chrome003"

and logged into each of them with a different Google account. This way I had direct access to all of my accounts with all their associated features (like Analytics, or Adwords, etc) without the need to go through logging off one and logging in to the other.

Today then it became obvious that I had to uninstall Chrome. Not necessarily because I did not like it any more, but there were just too many little bugs that had crept in that a possible re-install could not fix. For example LassPass did not show up right, and Google Maps – of all Google application – had rather nasty rendering problems.

So, I bit the bullet, uninstalled Chrome and even ran the manual uninstall of Chrome to make sure I got rid of all remains.

Then came the re-install and in the process of setting up all these old profiles (actually more than profiles, as I found out) I learned that Google, in the meantime, had developed something that actually could make this whole process of accessing a multitude of Google accounts easier – ‘Users’ within one data storage like contained in the folder

...\Google\Chrome\User Data.

Under this directory you always had a folder ‘Default’ which contained all the data for a user. Now you could add a user in the Chrome settings page and log into a different Google account as that user. The user interface for this feature is cute but very usable:

If there is only one user within one Chrome data set (–user-data-dir), the top left corner of Chrome looks like

But when there is more than one, a selectable icon appears to the left of the tab bar and it looks like

Now you can click on the little ninja and select from a pop-down menu a different user

There is another command line parameter to chrome which now allows to create shortcuts for the different users within one data set:

%chromepath%\chrome.exe --profile-directory="Default"
%chromepath%\chrome.exe --profile-directory="Profile 1"

so that you don’t depend on the GUI interface to the different profiles. The names as given above are selected by chrome when you add users, but it appears you actually have control over the naming of these profiles. During my testing I found out that if I use the above command line with a non-existing profile name, this profile will be created on first start. Creating a shortcut with the following target (all in one line, obviously)


created the profile ‘Heinrich’ which I could then use to log into yet another Google account. And on this command line you see that these two command line parameters can be combined to have different users within different Chrome data sets.

Google, the new McDonald – Responsible for Many Big Butts

Stumbling over the new Google Maps ‘MapsGL’ feature I was sent around the planet. First I went to the Westminster Abbey in England to check out – no, not Westminster Abbey, but – how 3D buildings look in the new Google maps.

After that I went to Rome, Italy to look at the Colosseum, first from the satellite view and then I admired Google’s switching over to a 45 degree view when zooming in.

OK, that’s what Google wanted me to do, but I am not the person to just follow what somebody tells me to – I want to explore! So, I tried Stonehenge, England. No 3D building or 45 degree views there but I was still amazed that this little spot on our planet gets so much attention from all over the world.

As I had never been to Stonehenge I now wanted to try a spot that I knew from a personal encounter to compare notes. The first that came to mind was the monastery of Montserrat in Spain, close to Barcelona. After just a minute with the help from my friends at Google I was there:

Click to go to the Google Local Page

That sure brought back memories. I had been there twice, once during a long stay in Spain with two buddies, and once later with a date. The interesting bit about the second visit was that then and there I decided to not do vacations any more. That was some thirty years ago and I have pretty much kept that promise to myself. Did not really miss anything, but made up for it by doing things a bit more radical. For example, instead of vacationing in California, I just moved there.

But when visiting there virtually after so many years I also realized how easy that trip had become – just a few mouse clicks and I was half around the world. When I was there the first times, I first had to get my body into Spain, then driving up that winding road, buying a ticket for the aerial tram and getting up to that summit.

Sure was good exercise and I was slim and trim (not that I am fat now!) But now makes me wonder how many big butts Google might be responsible for by just getting people to places virtually.

Google could be the next McDonald!

Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy 2) Finally Open Again

After being closed for more than four years, the Hwy 2 between La Canada and Wrightwood is finally open again! Rumors were heard in April that May would see the day when repairs would finally be completed.

A landslide had taken down part of the road in 2004. Estimates had then been that it would take until 2006 to have those damages repaired but in 2005 more landslides had destroyed even more of the road and so to took a bit longer – three years to be exact.

The latest rumor was that the road would be open for Memorial Day 2009 – which was last weekend. So, on Friday, to avoid the traffic on the 210 and 15 going around the bend, we drove up Hwy 2 in the hope that rumors would be true.

And they were! At the turn-off towards Palmdale, the Angeles Forest Highway, there was the sign: Wrightwood – Open!

Traffic was very light probably because the new (old) road will have to be re-discovered by the residents over time. We were not the first to take the road this Friday but certainly were amongst the first. We did not save any time in comparison to taking the 210 and 15 (without traffic) but the ride was definitely much nicer.

On the following Monday we took the same route back, for one expecting traffic on the 15 and 210 flowing back into LA but also to set the trip counter to see how long it really is – not trusting Google Maps completely yet.

And it was a beautiful drive! Saw two deers on the road – I guess they will also have to rediscover that its not all their turf any more – some mini-glaciers and beautiful scenery…


hwy 2 reopened - 03

So, what’s the result of the distance measurement with the trip counter? Google Maps is pretty close and if you just want to get there with the least costs it is probably better to take the trip around the bent through Rancho Cucamonga (love to say that) when going outside of the rush hour – easier drive, less wear on the car and possibly a bit shorter on the clock, not on the odometer – that’s about seven to eight miles more.

But it is great to have the option of taking the leisurely drive through beautiful mountains.