Part 1 of this article provides instructions and associated screenshots to configure profiles in Chrome, to advance beyond using the single default profile that is created by Chrome during installation.
Part 2 of this article provides an in-depth look at profiles with some real-world examples and scenarios.
To demonstrate setup and configuration of profiles for the steps below, I am adding the "Lorenzo" account profile, which is my personal Google account labeled with a color profile picture.
Prior to outlining the steps below, I had already signed in to my work-related Google account, named "JLR-SSI", labeled with a black and white profile picture.
Part 1: Steps to set up and configure multiple profiles
Step 1: Quit/exit the Chrome application if it is open or running already
Step 2: Reopen the Chrome application and close any additional windows or tabs that may have reopened
Ensure there is only one single window with one single tab open in Chrome
Step 3: Access Chrome application settings:
In Mac: click Chrome menu ---> Preferences
In Windows: click three dots near top right corner of Chrome Window ---> Settings
Step 4: Click "Manage other people"
Step 5: Click "Add Person" button
Step 6: Input the E-mail address at the top, ensure both checkboxes are unticked, click "Save" button.
Then input your Google account E-mail address and password when prompted. Your profile image will then change and match to the image you have selected in your Google account setup.
Step 7: Once authenticated, click the "Sign in" button then click "OK, got it" to acknowledge that you've understood what is happening when linking this account's data with this computer.
Step 8: Another window will open, which is active with the profile and Google account you just created. In the screenshot below, I've arranged the two windows for comparison, each showing the different profiles.
Looking at the colored boxes in that screenshot:
Red box: the name of the Google Chrome profile that is active on that window will appear in the top right of the window bar. Clicking the name there reveals a contextual menu of different options with the current profile name and picture associated with that window.
Yellow box: shows other profiles available on this computer. Clicking the name there will switch that current Chrome window to the profile you click from that menu.
Green box: shows that there are two different/distinct sets of extensions and the Google profile picture, all of which are unique to that Google account.
For Chrome running in Windows 10 environment:
Multiple icons for the Google Chrome application icon will show up on the Windows taskbar, each one individually representing the profile that is open within that Google Chrome window--and easily distinguishable by looking at the profile's picture that has been applied to it.
Part 2: Exploring and Using Chrome Profiles
--Advance beyond using the single default profile that is created by Chrome during installation
--Sign into and access multiple Google accounts simultaneously but keep all account data/activity separate
--Have the ability to switch back and forth between Google accounts easily, and all from the same computer
--Utilize all features that only the Chrome browser runs and integrates natively with Google-based accounts
--Avoid the need to run two separate browsers in order to keep data and activity separate
When Chrome is installed, it is set up with one unnamed profile by default.
When you sign into a Google account for the first time after Chrome is initially installed, Chrome prompts you to link your Google account data with that default/unnamed profile. If you accept the offer when prompted, Chrome renames and then associates that profile with that Google account you just signed in to.
Real-world examples and useful scenarios for profiles
Set up and use the Profiles feature as an alternative to having separate tabs open for a work account and a personal account.
Having more than one Google account signed in at the same time within the same browser, even while in separate tabs or windows, may lead to confusion for the user and within the Google environment. At some point, Chrome may try to utilize or access a Google feature or extension that is installed, but because you have two different Google accounts currently signed in within the default single unnamed profile, Chrome must try to distinguish to which of your Google accounts it needs to apply changes, track activity, access credentials, or utilize/install an extension.
Each profile contains its own set of data -- bookmarks, history, extensions, saved passwords, and settings.
By setting up a profile for each Google account you use, multiple accounts can be signed in at the same time on one computer running a single instance of the Chrome application, giving you full access to all data but allowing you to keep them both completely separate.
This is particularly helpful with Chrome extensions, because each profile contains its own set of specific extensions and associated settings.
Example: the profile associated with my personal Google account does not have the RingCentral extension installed or available to it, but the profile associated with my work Google account does. When something or some process triggers the need for the RingCentral extension, having the work-related profile set up and running in Chrome allows Chrome to access RingCentral extension and its associated settings and other data that are used only with that profile which is associated with my work Google account.
If you have a set of favorite extensions, no problem -- the same extension can be installed on multiple Chrome profiles, but each profile contains its own set of data for that extension.
Example: both my personal and work Chrome profiles have the Reading List extension installed, but each profile has its own separate and different list/database of items that I've saved to my reading list while working in the respective profile.
Using an incognito window to access your personal Google account while having your work-related Google account signed into on a work-provided computer provided to you by your employer, for example, is certainly an alternative method you can use to maintain separation of work and personal. Consider:
Advantages to this setup: This configuration leaves no trace of your personal data on the machine, and it does not cache files or link any Chrome data to that computer. Ideal to use if you are using a loaner computer or someone else's computer temporarily to access your Google account.
Disadvantages to this setup: Certain features and extensions are limited or not available within an incognito window. Incognito mode also restricts saving any history or browsing activity.
Example: you are working on your own computer at home at the end of the day and want to go back and find that page you were viewing in Incognito mode on your work computer while eating lunch earlier that day. If you were using an Incognito window while browsing during lunch on the work computer, then there would be no record of those pages you were surfing earlier at work.